Graduate Member Spotlight: Mujan Seif

Graduate Member Spotlight

Mujan Seif


Materials Science and Engineering

Expected Graduation Date: 2022

University of Kentucky


            Mujan has been a member of SWE since joining the University of Kentucky’s SWE section as a freshman in Fall 2012. The following spring, she attended the Region G conference. She then held the position of section Treasurer in FY13 until beginning her yearlong co-op at DuPont. Upon returning to campus, she served as the Career Fair Chair for the UK SWE section for the rest of her time as an undergrad, from FY15 through FY17. In this capacity, she was responsible for organizing the College of Engineering’s career fairs – cold-calling companies during the summer, coordinating registration, and handling day-of logistics. During that time, employee attendance at the career fairs steadily rose, breaking 100 for the first time in the event’s history!  Currently, Mujan serves as the Graduate Programming Coordinator-Elect (GPC-Elect), working to ensure that graduate students are well served at the annual WE conferences!  Mujan has attended every society conference since 2014, as well as an assortment of regional, WE Local, and leadership conferences. She is always looking forward to the next SWE conference, and is truly thrilled that her role as GPC-Elect allows her to improve upon the events she already loves!

In addition to SWE, as an undergrad Mujan was heavily involved in UK’s chapter of Material Advantage, an MSE student organization. She primarily organized recruitment efforts aimed at 1000+ undeclared engineering freshmen. She represented MSE at several freshmen orientations, designed promotional brochures and posters, produced the MSE program’s first promotional video, and built and maintained the chapter’s first website. She also worked to increase the resources available to her whole program. She wrote a successful proposal that initiated the program’s purchasing of several high-end 3D printers. The printers sparked numerous student projects, relationships with other programs on campus, and the basis for a few senior design projects. She also lobbied to improve the undergraduate MSE curriculum by articulating the concerns of her fellow students in a formal document, gathering dozens of signatures of support, and submitting the result to her Director of Undergraduate Studies and department Chair. For this service to the program, Mujan was named “Outstanding Junior” in 2016 and “Outstanding Senior” in 2017. She also won the ASM Bluegrass Senior Award in 2017, which is awarded to a senior in the UK MSE program who has exceled in and out of the classroom.

Upon graduation, Mujan took a gap year to conduct research full-time in Dr. Katsuyo Thornton’s Group at the University of Michigan. She was a member of UM’s GradSWE group during her time there. During this time, she submitted her undergraduate research to the WE Local Collegiate Competition. She was selected as a finalist and sent to WELocal Tulsa to present a poster and give a talk. She was awarded First Place in both categories!

Mujan is now a graduate student at the University of Kentucky. She works on two distinct projects: (1) using quantum mechanical calculations and microscopy to investigate the underlying structure-property relationships that affect the operation of high-performance thermionic dispenser cathodes and (2) using continuum scale calculations to learn how extracting properties of primitive structures can be used to extrapolate properties of random-ligament structures generated to model nanoporous materials.

Following graduation, Mujan plans to become a post-doctoral researcher at a national lab, and then enter academia at an R1 university.  In addition to conducting materials research, she truly loves teaching and mentoring students, and would very much like to combine those two passions into a career. Hopefully, as a professor she’ll be able to do just that! She would also like to continue her involvement in SWE for the rest of her career.

Outside of work, Mujan enjoys hiking, exercising, and reading. She also enjoys traveling. She is still at a stage of her career where traveling for work is a treat, so she tries to tack on an extra day any time she’s visiting somewhere new or exciting. One of her favorite trips was to a Materials Research Society meeting in November 2017, where she arrived a few days early to explore the city of Boston. It was her first time there and she packed in a ton – attending the symphony, walking the Freedom Trail, and visiting Harvard/MIT.


Fun Fact from Mujan: Jerry Seinfeld is her favorite comedian, and she’s been an avid Seinfeld fan since she was a kid. Her friends will [affectionately] say that her most irritating quality is her unrelenting habit of including Seinfeld quotes in everyday conversations. She understands their complaints but has no intention of stopping.




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