Materials Science & Engineering Postdoctoral Researcher
Advised by Joshua Zide and Matt Doty
Interview submitted in Fall 2023.
CHARM Interviewer (CI): Where did you grow up and go to school for your undergraduate degree?
Dr. To (QT): I grew up in a small town of Ninh Binh nestled amidst lush mountainous rice paddies in the northern region of Vietnam. While in Vietnam, I earned my major in physics from Vietnam National University in Hanoi.
CI: What got you interested in materials science?
QT: This is primarily due to the extensive applications of material science in our daily lives, ranging from commonplace items found in our kitchens to advanced components like computer chips in our laptops. Material science has been profoundly transforming our lives. Moreover, I am constantly captivated by the multitude of fascinating physical phenomena within this field, which fuels my enthusiasm for further exploration and research.
CI: In technical language, what is the research you do here at CHARM?
QT: I am currently engaged in developing a theoretical models to investigate the intricate interplay between THz excitation in hybrid quantum materials with a focus on understanding how this interaction influences the properties of these materials, making them promising candidates for applications in THz devices.
CI: What is a skill you would like to build on while being a part of CHARM?
QT: Effective communication skills are very important for successful teamwork, such as the collaborative efforts we engage in here at CHARM. Therefore, I would like to further enhancing my ability to present my work with clarity, confidence, and in a way that is easily understandable.
CI: Tell us about your career goals and aspirations.
QT: I aspire to pursue an academic career and establish a research group dedicated to the field of physics applied in material science. I firmly believe that delving into the understanding of physical phenomena will enable us to explore the depths of material properties and unearth innovative applications.
CI: What do you enjoy doing on your downtime outside of the lab?
QT: I find pleasure in playing soccer with my friends during my leisure time. Listening to classical music helps me unwind and relax after a long day of work.
CI: What advice would you give to undergraduate students and first-year graduate students?
QT: Striving for good grades is important, but it shouldn’t be your sole priority. If you aim to attend graduate school, consider initiating your involvement in research during your undergraduate years.
For first-year graduate students: Don’t hesitate to seek assistance whenever you have questions, feel uncertain about your course of action, or require support. Help is readily available from your advisor, colleagues, and those around you whenever you need it.