Success Story: Raquel Ovalle Robles
Lively Guanajuato is a colonial city that owes its prosperity to the gold and silver mines of the area. Opulent mansions line the main roads curving through the gorge in which it lies, whilst simpler but colorful dwellings sit almost one upon the other on the hillsides. The whole city buzzes with activity from the university students and the influx of visitors. Raquel Ovalle Robles was one of those university students.
She spent her time at the University of Guanajuato’s Physics Institute where she worked with Dr. Julian Felix and took lectures from Dr. Moshinski on particle physics and as an undergraduate student she published two papers. As an exceptional student she was interested in opportunities to broaden her education. She became interested in organic light emitting diodes (OLEDs), and she also recognized nanotechnology’s ability to revolutionize this field. At the end of her third year in school Professor Elder de la Rossa introduced her to some of the summer programs for which she was eligible. The UT Dallas Nano at the Border program stood out for its name recognition, innovative science and opportunity interface with multiple disciplines.
Raquel was exposed to instrumentation and resources that were unparalleled at her university.
“I was shocked by the unlimited access I had to everything…” she recalled.
She interacted with physicists, chemists, material scientists and engineers on a wide variety of cutting edge projects. In addition to working with first class resources and peer she was able to learn from some of the best minds of her field. She worked closely with Professor Anvar Zakhidov and was able to interact with all of the NanoTech Research staff. Her stay that summer of 2003 culminated with a formal presentation of her work.
Upon returning home she took those skills and experience and immediately applied them. She was well versed now in the instruments that only a select few in her school were given permission to operate. With a head of steam she began to independently tackle research and equipment problems that her peers could not.
Raquel graduated from UT Dallas in the Fall 2008 with a PhD in physics. She now works as a research associate for Dr. Ray Baughman, the Robert A. Welch Chair in Chemistry and Director of the Alan G. MacDiarmid NanoTech Institute. She frequently collaborates with Professor Zakhidov. Raquel’s research interests lie in the development of OLEDs and similar devices.
She takes every opportunity she can to share with her fellow countrymen the importance of seizing an opportunity like Nano at the Border. She promotes the program by returning to her alma mater to give presentations and posters at the National Physics Congress. She also facilitates and mentors other Nano at the Border students.
Updated: March 22, 2011