My name is Michael Wilson. I enrolled in the Polymer Science program at the University of Akron in the fall of 2014 and was accepted as a biomimicry fellow in the spring of 2015. My adviser is Ali Dhinojwala, and my corporate sponsor is Lubrizol.
I became inspired by my high school chemistry teacher to study materials and I knew that I wanted to do research in making and examining materials which would help the environment. I received my undergraduate degree from the University of Tennessee in Materials Science/Engineering and German Language/Literature. Throughout my undergraduate degree, I periodically heard stories about the study of natural materials, and I always found them quite interesting. One example which really stuck out to me was how tough shells were primarily made of the same material as sidewalk chalk, which is brittle and breaks easily. It was amazing to hear what solutions had arisen for improvement of mechanical properties!
When I came to the University of Akron, I saw the research of Dr. Dhinojwala. I was enthralled by how cool the research sounded! Before then, I did not know that there was a field devoted to the study of biomimicry, as I had always heard about emulating natural materials in a random fashion. The thing that really caught my attention was that the method of learning from nature not only provides technological advancement, but also allows us to discover more about the world and our place in it. It intersected my fascination with natural materials and my desire to help the environment. I am excited by this opportunity, and I hope that I can share some of that excitement with you all.