PhD Spotlight: Alexandria Will-Cole, PhD’23 – Electrical Engineering
Alexandria Will-Cole, PhD’23, electrical engineering, joined Professor Nian X. Sun’s Advanced Materials and Microsystems Lab in 2019 to pursue a PhD in Electrical Engineering at Northeastern University. Prior to her doctoral studies, she completed her MS in Materials Science and Engineering from Drexel University and her BA in Physics from the University of Arizona. Though her educational background is not traditional for an electrical engineering student, it has aided in her interdisciplinary doctoral studies. Her research lies at the intersection of materials physics and spintronics, with a focus on multifunctional materials, particularly magnetoelectric composites and multiferroics. In 2020, she was awarded the National Defense Science and Engineering Graduate (NDSEG) Fellowship sponsored by the Office of Naval Research for magnetoelectric heterostructures and device research. Magnetoelectric composites, which are layered magnetic and piezoelectric materials, allow for coupling between magnetism and electricity. These multifunctional composites can enable novel devices for communication, energy harvesting, and magnetic field sensing applications. Prior to the NDSEG fellowship, she was the recipient of two other graduate fellowships, the Alsaif Doctoral Fellowship, and the National Science Foundation Translational Applications in Nanoscale Multiferroic Systems (NSF TANMS) Doctoral Fellowship. TANMS is a multi-institutional engineering research center focused on research, technology translation, and education associated with magnetism on the micro- to nano-scale. Since joining Northeastern, Will-Cole has fostered and participated in research collaborations with the National Institute of Standards and Technology and Department of Energy Sandia National Laboratories. Particularly inspired following a workshop on machine learning implementation, she pursued a collaboration with the National Institute of Standards and Technology focused on optimizing magnetoelectric materials with machine learning. Alongside her research pursuits, she has mentored several undergraduate students through the TANMS Undergraduate Research Program in 2020 and 2021. In alignment with her passion for uplifting other women in engineering, she has organized virtual professional development events for women and allies in physical science and engineering through the Multiferroics Women’s Conference for Research and Fellowship. After graduation, Will-Cole aims to continue her research career at a national laboratory with continued emphasis on applied multifunctional nanomaterials and device development.