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John Will

Ph.D. Student and Website Manager, DREAMS Lab
  • ICTAS Doctoral Scholar, Materials Science and Engineering
A person wearing a maroon polo shirt with a logo saying DREAMS and a black watch stands in front of a jet engine.

John Will is an ICTAS Doctoral Scholar in the Department of Materials Science and Engineering at Virginia Tech.  He graduated magna cum laude as a Eugene McDermott Scholar from the University of Texas at Dallas in 2018 with a B.S. in Biomedical Engineering and a minor in Computer Science.  Prior to joining the DREAMS lab, John conducted undergraduate research with Dr. Walter Voit exploring super tough semi-crystalline thiolene network polymers and using shape memory polymers to build the next generation of cochlear implants.  John has also had opportunities to work in the labs of Dr. Johan Foster (Virginia Tech), Dr. Zhenan Bao (Stanford), Dr. Gordon Wallace (University of Wollongong), and at the Air Force Research Lab (Dayton, OH).  These experiences helped John find his niche as a researcher at the interface of chemistry and engineering.  

John's research expertise spans vat photopolymerization and direct ink write additive manufacturing technologies, electron microscopy, thermomechanical characterization, computer science, mechanical design, and drafting.  John's research in the DREAMS lab focuses on the process-structure-property relationships of 3D printed graphitic carbon via pyrolysis of an all-aromatic polyimide precursor.  This research is conducted using a custom in-situ UV assisted direct ink write system that John built from the ground up.  

Outside of the lab, John is an avid runner and outdoorsman.  He enjoys backpacking, rock climbing, and caving.  When he can find the time, John also enjoys bicycle touring.  At age 12, John was the youngest ever to ride across the US (4,218 miles in 42 days).


  • Carbonization of Printed Polyimides