Dane Christie, *19, CBE


Dane Christie is a Materials Scientist at Corning Incorporated in Painted Post, New York. He earned a Ph.D. in Chemical Engineering in 2019, and spearheaded the development of a tool probing the transition temperate at the nanoscale level as his doctoral thesis. 

"I synthesized a ton of polymers. I must have synthesized upwards of 60 unique polymer architectures in order to complete this study. I wish I’d known that fulfilling the requirements of a thesis alone does not prepare you for the professional world. I honed my technical abilities over the last five years, but in my current work environment, the ability to communicate verbally, not in writing, is king. If you cannot convince people of the merit of your ideas in language they can understand, you are not going anywhere, since it is impossible to solve any meaningful problems by yourself. I think it could have helped to be exposed to different career paths and to learn about the additional skills needed to be successful.

I felt tremendous pressure to complete the program due in part to my history. I am a minority. I started in community college as an adult who did poorly in high school the first time around. I eventually graduated from a small but excellent four-year program. If I failed, I worried that other people who share parts of my background would be denied entry. I could not accept that, so I persisted."

For the full story from which this interview is taken, please see this story by Denise Valenti and Liz Fuller-Wright.