Contributing at Las Vegas Science EventsIMG_20150602_133851

HiPSEC students Chris Higgins and Andrew Alvarado volunteered as judges at the


Skybot competition held on May 23 in Las Vegas. The event was also attended by Congressman Joe Heck. Here is a synopsis of the event:  “The main goal of the Skybot Engineering and Business Innovation Challenge (SEBIC) is to inspire students to find a passion in some aspect of technical education. It will be more than just “Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math”, commonly known as STEM. It will include business attributes, community service, espirit de corps, sportsmanship in the form of magnanimous competitiveness, and execution of the actual competition. Robotics have been part of competitions for many years. With the advent of airborne drones, or Skybots, it is imperative that the third dimension gets added. Nevada is the first in the nation with this competition.”

GRADUATION! Nirup Bandaru has completed his doctoral degree in Electrical and Computer Engineering with Dr. Ravhi Kumar, Dr. Rama Venkat and Dr. Clemens Heske as advisory committee chairs. His dissertation work entitled “STRUCTURE AND OPTICAL PROPERTIES OF TRANSITION METAL DICHALCOGENIDES (TMDs) UNDER HIGH PRESSURE AND HIGH TEMPERATURE CONDITIONS” was supported by HiPSEC. Nirup took a job as a Research and Development Scientist at PDF Solutions, a semiconductor fabrication company located in San Jose, CA.

AWARD! The UNLV Foundation, in partnership with Southwest Airlines, has awarded Melanie White with the Student Travel Award for her work with Dr. Ravhi Kumar on a high pressure x-ray diffraction and high pressure Raman study of pyrochlore oxide, a potential nuclear waste containment material. Melanie will use the award to travel to Philadelphia, PA, to present the research at the American Crystallographic Association’s 65th Annual Meeting, July 25th – 29th. Melanie has also received an ACA Young Scientist Travel Grant. This project was also awarded first place at the 2015 UNLV CSUN Academic Affairs- Office of Undergraduate Research and Scholarship Poster Conference.

AWARD! Howard Yanxon is awarded with 2015 McNair Scholar Summer Internship to work with Dr.Ravhi Kumar. The McNair Postbaccalaureate Achievement Program on our campus is administered by the UNLV Center for Academic Enrichment and Outreach which received a grant from U.S. Department of Education.

New Internship opportunities at NSTec just opened

compoMARCH 20, 2015. Melanie White, Nolan Regies and Kelly Seaborg poster presentations won awards at the UNLV-CSUN-OURS Poster Conference.



ssap2015 newUNLV-HiPSEC students presented their research at the 2015 SSAP symposium in Santa Fe, NM on March 11-12, 2015. We are particularly proud of Patricia Kalita and Daniel Sneed for winning best poster presentation awards.




On February 12, 2015 the review panel came to the UNLV for the annual HiPSEC review. We had the opportunity to showcase our results to scientists of the NNSA, LANL, LLNL, Sandia and NSTec. HiPSEC students had the opportunity to discuss their research with senior scientists, establish new connections and discuss career development opportunities.


John Howard graduated with his Ph.D. in Physics in the Fall of 2014. His dissertation is titled “Li+ Ion Transport in Select Lithium-Rich Antiperovskites”, with Dr. Yusheng Zhao as the advisory committee chair.
John studied high pressure physics under the direction of the late Malcolm Nicol during his undergraduate and M.S. studies, but made the transition to synthesizing and characterizing solid state electrolytes for his Ph.D. project. John plans to continue to work in the field of solid state electrolytes for battery applications.


Graduation ceremony: Chris Cline and Pamela Burnely

Graduation ceremony: Chris Cline and Pamela Burnely

GRADUATION! Chris Cline graduated with his M.S. degree in May 2014.  His thesis is entitled “The Effect of Single Crystal Elastic and Plastic Anisotropy on Stress and Strain Heterogeneity: Comparison of Olivine and Other Common Minerals”.  Chris became interested in high pressure research while he was an undergraduate working on HiPSEC projects in Pamela Burnley’s research group.  He is now working on a Ph.D. with Ian Jackson at the Australian National University.  He is studying the effects of water, defects and grain boundaries on the  attenuation of seismic waves in mantle rocks.