Cytec Fellowship Awardee receives IME Doctorate

Dr. Rebekah (Downes) Sweat recently began working with the Cytec Solvay Group in South Carolina after graduating from FSU in December to become America’s first PhD recipient of the Cytec Engineered Materials Doctoral Fellow for Advanced Composite Studies.

Rebekah successfully presented her dissertation defense before her committee members, which included Dr. Robin Maskell, chief scientist of Cytec Engineered Materials, to receive her PhD from the Industrial & Manufacturing Engineering Department. Rebekah’s committee co-chairs were Dr. Richard Liang, director of FSU’s High-Performance Materials Institute, and Dr. Arda Vanli.

Her research was on developing ways to make super-strong lightweight materials by manipulating carbon nanotubes in new ways. Carbon nanotubes are on the cutting edge of materials science, with the potential to significantly improve the performance of current technology used in various applications.

Rebekah served as a researcher with HPMI since 2011. In 2013, she was named as a Cytec Engineered Materials Doctoral Fellow for Advanced Composite Studies.

Along her academic and research career, she was awarded first place award for best student paper at the May 2013 Society for the Advancement of Material and Process Engineering (SAMPE) Her paper entitled "Carbon nanotube alignment mechanisms under uniaxial strain," discussed her research at HPMI toward developing improved properties in composites by aligning carbon nanotubes. She also served as a mentor for many undergraduate researchers.

The Cytec Engineered Materials Doctoral Fellowship for Advanced Composite Studies was established through a multi-year partnership between HPMI and Cytec to help realize the benefits of advanced composite technologies at a more rapid pace.

Rebekah received two bachelor’s degrees in 2011 from the University of North Florida — a Bachelor’s of Science degree (with honors) in mathematics and a Bachelor’s of Arts degree (with honors) in economics. She began her studies at Florida State University in Industrial and Manufacturing Engineering in 2011.

Rebekah_pictureRebekah Downes Sweat with Dr. Robin Maskell, chief scientist of Cytec Engineered Materials.