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Did you know that all proceeds from our Symposium go to fund our students and Polymer Science program at USM?  Your continuing support and participation at our symposium supports the FUTURE of the polymer science industry. 

Meet some of our polymer science students who portray the intellectual potential, strength of character, and love of learning that has exemplified the University of Southern Mississippi's School of Polymers and Engineering since 1969.

We are proud to offer the first in a series of student highlights that enables you to interact and see the students and their work.  We encourage feedback and suggestions as we build this program.

2015-16 Student Highlights

Brice Harkey

Polymer Science BS

I work very closely with the synthesis of organic polymers, as well as composite matrix polymers, and characterization techniques. Most of the work that has been done has been under the graduate student Christopher Childers, and with him I have synthesized epoxy samples from different materials including TGDDM, 44DDS, and 33DDS. I have just recently moved over to a new graduate student and will be working very closely with the extruder as well as the extruding process. 

2013-14 Student Highlights

Michael B. Sims

Polymer Science BS, Chemistry BS

Michael is a senior working on Stimuli-responsive RAFT polymers as part of the McCormick Research Group. He was the winner of the prestigious Barry M. Goldwater Scholar award as well as many others. He plans to go to graduate school and conduct research in synthetic polymer chemistry for his Ph.D., followed by working in an industry research position developing smart polymeric materials


Tyler Brown

Polymer Science BS, Chemistry & Biology minors

Tyler is a senior working on creating synthetic polymer mimics of naturally occurring biopolymers as part of the Morgan Research Group. He was the winner of the Amgen Scholar Intern at Washington University in St. Louis, the Barry M. Goldwater Scholar as well as many other awards. He plans to acquire his Ph.D.in biomedical research and then go on to work in a biotechnology company.


Patrick Hollingsworth

Polymer Science BS, Chemistry BS

Patrick is a senior working on the development of improved matrix materials as well as the aging of epoxy samples in the Thames-Rawlins Research group.  He was the recipient of the Presidential Award from USM, the Sidney Lauren Memorial Scholarship, and a CIEF scholarship among other awards.  He plans to acquire an advanced degree in polymer science and eventually working and traveling for a global polymer industry. 


Matthew Sumpter

Polymer Science BS, Chemistry BS, Mathematics minor

Matthew Sumpter is curently working with the TRRG Coatings Team on integrating vegetable oil-based latexes into surface coatings that perform as well as or better than their petroleum alternatives.  He is determining and correlating the mechanical properties of the latex systems to quality of film formation as well as testing the effects of internal coating stress on corrosion and performance.

Laken Kendrickcropped.jpg

Laken Kendrick

Polymer Science BS

Laken is currently a junior researching the synthesis of bio-inspired synthetic DOPA-derivatives and their adhesive properties upon incorporation into thiol-ene networks. This research is inspired by the adhesive capabilities of the intertidal marine mussel.  She plans to pursue a graduate degree and work in the biomedical science field.

Ethan Clayton

Polymer Science BS

Ethan's research currently focuses on the synthesis of initiators for cationic polymerization.  He provides the graduate students with initiators to utilize in their research.   He also has worked to streamline the process used to synthesize the initiators, i.e. increasing yield and decreasing labor and waste.   His future work involves the study the initiation efficiency of eight different initiators in order to compare and contrast their initiation characteristics.


For more information how you can get involved, please contact: 

Melanie Heusser: 601-266-4475

CoatingTech's Spotlight on USM's Polymer Science and Engineering Students

Originally Appeared in January 2013 Issue of Coatings Tech, pp 40-44