Name: Russell Vick
Degree being sought: Undergraduate
Undergrad Degree & Institution: Polymer Science B.S., The University of Southern Mississippi School of Polymer Science and Engineering
Research group: Thames-Rawlins Research Group
Area of study: Polymeric Coatings and Corrosion Prevention
Hometown: Hattiesburg, MS

Give a brief synopsis of research/work being done

The research focus in the Thames-Rawlins Research Group is on understanding the coating-substrate interfacial changes and degradation caused by acclimation to the environment, specifically water, oxygen and electrolytes. My project aims to increase understanding of the film formation process and characterization efficiency of aminopropyl triethoxy silane (APS), an alkoxy silane-based metal surface pretreatment. The goal is to predict film properties based on hydrolysis solution chemistry. This understanding can then be used to create consistent films where subsequently, charge transfer resistance of the films at the coating-substrate interface can be measured using Electrochemical Impedance Spectroscopy to attain further understanding of interfacial performance parameters.

From your current perspective, what do you see as an ideal fit for your skills, goals and career moving forward?

The curriculum at the School of Polymer Science and Engineering at USM has prepared me for working in industry by equipping me with a wide platform of information about polymer science as well as material analysis. Moving forward, I would like to use my skills to work in industry and advance through the ranks as a knowledgeable, hardworking employee with lots of ideas to improve efficiency and business.

An interesting (personal) fact about yourself

I have a personal tie with musical instruments. I’ve played trumpet since the 6th grade, and it has always been a way for me to express and challenge myself. My dream job would be to somehow combine my knowledge of polymer science to better the musical instrument industry through the development of new materials for instrument use, such as: oils, pads, coatings, or even instrument bodies.

Why did you choose USM?

USM has always been known for its amazing polymer science program. I’ve always had a real connection with chemistry and I was up for this rewarding and difficult challenge.

*What USM-related scholarships did you receive?

Presidential Scholarship – ACT based and Honors College

CIEF Grant – GPA based

*Awards won

2015 – Most Outstanding Freshman

Who or what influenced your USM education the most?

My classmates have influenced my education the most. I come from a family that doesn’t have much of a science background at all. Having close friends taking classes with me really helped me stay focused when I needed to be focused and relaxed when I needed to be relaxed. Being able to balance focus and relaxation is a difficult, but necessary, task to be successful in this program.

Main USM extracurricular activity – why is this important to you?

My main USM extracurricular activity has been playing trumpet in The Pride of Mississippi. Playing trumpet has always been a passion of mine and being in The Pride has allowed me to meet many new people from different backgrounds while also doing something that I love. Marching band has always been fun for me ever since high school, so I’ve been very fortunate to be able to participate in The Pride.

*What are your plans for next year and beyond?

My plans for next year are to apply for industrial jobs so I can start my professional career. Education is important so I’m looking to see if I can work with a company that will allow me to also take the time to earn my Master’s degree in either Polymer Science or Business.

While at USM, what other accomplishments/activities are you most proud of?

My greatest accomplishment outside of the polymer science department that I’m most proud of is being chosen as one of the trumpet section leaders in The Pride. Not very often are non-music majors selected as a section leader, so I take great pride that the faculty saw that my skills and knowledge of music were good enough to be a section leader even as a polymer science major.

For more information on Russell, contact Melanie Heusser at