What a Year to Be McNair

By Amy Wu on Aug 15, 2023
An image of the UF McNair community

Ronald E. McNair. A trail-blazer in space, a trendsetter in society, a human at heart. As a McNair Scholar, I am a legacy of his passing. Being a first generation and low income student, I can relate to his struggles of becoming the first in their family to work with not only in academia, but also in industry.

In the McNair scholars program, we learned all about his achievements and successes; however, we will never realize what it is like for him to take the first step forward in a world where not everyone is equal. Having a sense of passion in whatever inspires a sense of community is another trait that I share with McNair. Like his enthusiasm for karate, research is an activity that pushes me forward, and being able to share curiosity with others drove me to learn more on what I can do to help.

Ever since I had taken a class in Introduction to Virtual Reality in Spring 2023, I searched fpr a way tocontribute to the field. So when my mentor, Dr. Jeremy Waisome, asked if I would like to learn more about Augmented Reality (AR) on semiconductor manufacturing, I eagerly agreed to.

Over the summer, I met with Dr. Waisome, her PhD student Dennis, and another undergraduate researcher Terell to discuss how we could bring the project into reality. To start, we needed background knowledge of how semiconductor manufacturing operates. At the Nanoscale Research Laboratory, we did a cleanroom tour, gaining an understanding of how the spin coater and cleanrooms function. We took recordings within the lab and read vasts amounts of literature to comprehend the scope of our project. We decided to 3D print parts of a clean room to mix VR and AR. Specifically, we went with the AR spincoater that Terell had acquired on Unity:

Image of Terell's spincoater Figure 1 - Terell got this spincoater on Unity.

I utlized OnShape to recreate its two parts: the top and bottom. Upon creating the 3D model, I further divided it into its 2D components. Even with its flattened size, I soon realized its high cost due to its large scale. Therefore, I attempted to miniaturize my figure parts according to scale, but soon discovered that it needs further examination due to its three-dimensional shape. As the first test run did not go as planned, we continued to learn as we went.

One of the assignments of the exciting parts about being a McNair Scholar is the opportunity to attend the McNair SAEOPP Conference in Atlanta, Georgia. We prpared a poster to present our current status to the other attendees. The McNair directors and UF Data Studio members gave a ton of feedback during the preparation. I made sure to take every individual insight to heart, conveying my research as concise and clear as possible for my audience to understand.

I am grateful and honored to announce that I won third place in the SAEOPP Conference in the educational category. I could not have done it without the support I had gained within my network, just like how McNair had done in his drive to become an astronaut.

With others by my side, I am proud of being a McNair Scholar. I hope I can continue to take the steps forward for others to take note and create their own journey.

To commemorate, here are some pictures of one of the most amazing summers of a lifetime:

Image of SAEOPP Conference Figure 2 - I am honored to receive third place in my category (education) @ McNair SAEOPP Conference!

Image of McNair Scholars End of Summer Oral Presentation Figure 3 - All McNair Scholars are presenting their findings from their research.

Image of Dr. Waisome, Dennis, and I. Figure 4 - Dr. Waisome, Dennis, and I after a research meeting.

Image of PRISEM Lab with Terell and me Figure 5 - Terell, PRISEM Lab, and I at the Top for a final sendoff of the summer!

Image of All McNair Scholars @ SAEOPP Conference in Atlanta Figure 6 - All McNair Scholars @ SAEOPP Conference in Atlanta.

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