SOCORRO, N.M., December 15, 2000 -- Mary R. Harper, a graduate of Cibola High School who is now a senior majoring in materials engineering at New Mexico Tech, recently was awarded the prestigious Albuquerque Journal Scholarship.
Harper is the daughter of Michael and Donna Felker of Rio Rancho.
The scholarship was awarded largely on the basis of a research proposal titled "Neon Gas Encapsulation in Glass for Lighting Applications," which Harper submitted for consideration to the newspaper's scholarship committee.
"My proposal details the diffusion at elevated temperatures of neon gas in commercial glass microspheres, or bubbles of glass," Harper explains. "When these microspheres are softened together to form a matrix and a frequency is applied, light is produced. . . . These lighting systems can then be made into a variety of shapes; and, even when chipped or fractured, will remain operable."
While working summers as an engineering intern, Harper has completed several high-tech research assignments with Motorola labs in Albuquerque and Phoenix, including projects involving dielectric ceramics, screen printing of resistors and capacitors, and the development of a methanol sensor for a fuel cell.
In addition to her ongoing research and class work, the Rio Rancho native also is actively involved with the university's Materials Society and serves as secretary of that student organization. Harper also lists current memberships in the American Ceramic Society and Tau Beta Pi, a national engineering honor society.
"I also serve as the local Young Women's President for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, helping to organize Sunday and midweek activities in Socorro," Harper adds.
"New Mexico Tech is a great school for science and engineering," Harper says. "The class sizes are very small, which encourages interaction among students and professors on a one-to-one basis.
"The classes at Tech are challenging," she continues, "and I know I'm receiving an excellent education."
Prior to her receiving the Albuquerque Journal Scholarship, Harper has been attending the state-supported research university under a New Mexico Tech Presidential Scholarship, a New Mexico Success/Lottery Scholarship, and a Ceramic Achievement Scholarship.