Exploring the Unknown

Exploring the UnknownExploring the Unknown

Jonathan Malen (l) and Scott Schiffres (r)

Scott Schiffres knew he wanted to find a Ph.D. program where he could explore ground-breaking energy transportation technologies. But he wanted more.

Reputation. Resources. Even intangibles like compatibility with an advisor. All were critical.

Schiffres says he found the perfect fit at Carnegie Mellon University.

Key to his choice was Professor Jonathan Malen.

His advisor, Malen is working to create more precise thermal management devices critical to the cooling of sensitive electronic components used in energy transportation at the nanoscale.

“CMU’s research in this area is cutting-edge,” Schiffres explained. “Professor Malen motivates us with his enthusiasm for exploring the unknown.”

Schiffres says Malen communicates this excitement not only in the lab but also in the classroom.

“His talent as a researcher extends to his roles as mentor and instructor as well.”

Aircraft and other transportation systems stand to benefit from their work.

Funded by a three-year, $360,000 grant from the U.S. Air Force, this work could also improve technologies related to energy conversion, thermal management and high-resolution imaging.

Schiffres emphasizes that successful research relies heavily on collaboration, and Malen has succeeded in building a highly compatible team. 

“In addition to learning from and helping each other, we always have a good laugh,” Schiffres said.

Malen says he tries to convey the sense of contribution that he and fellow faculty members feel when breaking new ground in research.

“The smart students that attend CMU need to be challenged, so they can experience the satisfaction of discovery,” Malen said, pointing to the dedication students have in the lab.

“Scott is no exception. He comes early and stays late, and is genuinely one of the most curious people I've ever met. This has and will lead to his success."

Schiffres is a 2010-2011 Steinbrenner Fellow.

The Steinbrenner Graduate Fellowship program was established to provide support to eligible graduate students across all seven colleges at CMU who are involved in environmentally-focused, interdisciplinary research projects on topics aligned with the strategic focus areas of the Steinbrenner Institute.

Related Links: Mechanical Engineering | Steinbrenner Institute