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Zachary Ahmad

About Me

I am a first-generation, nontraditional student.

I am currently pursuing a PhD in Materials Science from the California Institute of Technology in the lab of Dr. Katherine Faber. In the Faber group, I am excited to broaden my expertise in material strengthening and mechanics. My current project involves a collaboration with NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory where I am working to develop new methods of additive manufacturing via reaction bonding of dense and high temperature materials for space exploration. After earning my PhD, I plan to pursue a career in academia as a research professor and principal investigator in the field of dynamic and multi-functional materials. It is my goal to operate my own lab while supporting diversity and equity in the next generation of researchers and scientists.


I graduated Magna Cum Laude with a Bachelor of Science in Polymer Science and Engineering and a minor in Chemistry from The University of Southern Mississippi (USM) in May of 2022. At USM, I worked as an undergraduate researcher in the lab of Dr. Xiaodan Gu where I studied conjugated polymer blends and specialized in X-ray diffraction techniques. In the summer 2021, I worked as an intern in the research group of Dr. Reika Katsumata at The University of Massachusetts Amherst where my project involved the dewetting patterns of polymer films.

I also have a passion for campus and community involvement, and I currently serve on the Board of Directors for Caltech's Graduate Student Council. Additionally, I serve on several faculty/student committees at Caltech including the Institution Healthcare Committee and the EAS Committee on Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion. I previously served as President of the Polymer Science Association at USM, President of The Society for the Advancement of Material and Process Engineering (USM Chapter), Vice President of USM’s Honors College Ambassadors, and a member of the Mississippi Council for the Blind. On the rare occasion that I have free time, I enjoy playing piano and guitar, swimming, and writing poetry.

Zachary Ahmad
Zachary Ahmad


I'm always looking for new and exciting opportunities. Let's connect.


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