The Jonsson School

Material Science Department Leader Named President-Elect of AVS

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Dr. Amy Walker, interim head of the Department of Materials Science and Engineering, was recently named president-elect of AVS, originally the American Vacuum Society. The international organization focuses on materials, interfaces and processing and is affiliated with the American Institute of Physics.

Walker, also a professor in the Erik Jonsson School of Engineering and Computer Science, was chosen by her peers to lead the organization of about 4,000 members and will assume the role from January through December of 2020.

She will continue the primary functions of AVS, which include hosting international conferences and social networking events, and publishing three major professional journals. Additionally, Walker said she wants to expand the organization’s focus to better support recent graduates and professional technicians.

“Technicians and recent graduates can give AVS huge and wonderful contributions,” Walker said. “‘What do they need?’ I’m going to spend some time figuring how to support people wherever they are in their careers.”

Walker was an early supporter of student groups of AVS, serving as a student chapter advisor for the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex since 2013.

“We invite hiring managers and recent graduates to social events,” she said. “Students wanted the chapter to be formed, and it is student-led.”

Walker cites her own experience as the reason for her inclusive perspective.

“The friends and mentors I have made through AVS are invaluable,” Walker said.

Other UT Dallas faculty members in AVS include Dr. Robert Wallace, professor in the Department of Materials Science and Engineering and holder of the Erik Jonsson Distinguished Chair, Dr. Larry Overzet, head of the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, and Dr. Matthew Goeckner, associate dean of the School of Natural Sciences and Mathematics.

“AVS is a home for many of our faculty,” Walker said. “It is a true honor to be nominated and elected president by my peers.”

Walker’s research has focused on manipulating interfacial chemistry in order to develop simple, robust materials with complex 2- and 3-D surfaces. She holds a bachelor’s degree in physics and a PhD in chemistry from Cambridge University in England.

Walker previously served on the board of AVS and as a program chair for the 64th AVS International Symposium and Exhibition in 2017.