SOCORRO, N.M., April 23, 2002 -- A New Mexico Tech undergraduate and a doctoral candidate at the research university both recently were selected by the New Mexico Section of the American Ceramic Society (ACerS) as this year's recipients of the organization's Undergraduate Achievement Scholarship and Graduate Research Award.

Stephanie C. Smith, a Tech junior majoring in materials engineering, and Mary Sandstrom, a first-year Ph.D. student in materials engineering at New Mexico Tech, were honored by the New Mexico Section of ACerS at the section's semi-annual meeting and awards ceremony, which was held last month in Albuquerque.


Smith was chosen to receive the scholarship on the basis of her scholastic record and demonstrated dedication to the ceramic sciences; while Sandstrom was chosen for the section's research award in large part because of her ongoing research on the fabrication of textured thin-films of complex perovskite ferro- electric ceramics via sol-gel processing.

The recipients of the annual awards were selected from a large pool of New Mexico university students who are pursuing degrees in materials science and engineering or related fields.

Smith is a member of the university's chapters of The Materials Society, Society of Women Engineers, and ASM International.

While at New Mexico Tech, Smith also conducts research on developing molds and castings for micro-machine components.

Last year, Sandstrom earned her master of science degree in materials engineering at New Mexico Tech. Prior to that, she worked as a chemist and environmental scientist with state agencies in New Mexico and as a chemical technician and laboratory manager with mining companies in Arizona.

Sandstrom also is a member of Tech's student chapters of The Materials Society and ASM International, as well as ACerS.

"I'm glad I decided to come to New Mexico Tech for my graduate studies, rather than a larger university," says Sandstrom. "As a Tech graduate student, I've had more opportunity to get lots of hands-on experience than I might have had at a larger school. . . . My research group is also small, which means I have more access to my academic advisor."