SOCORRO, N.M., October 26, 1999 -- Hyun Sik Jeon recently was appointed to the full-time, tenure-track position of assistant professor of chemical engineering at New Mexico Tech.
Jeon becomes one of the newest faculty member in Tech's petroleum and chemical engineering department after having served the past two-and-a-half years as a guest researcher at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) in Gaithersburg, Md.
Jeon earned both his bachelor of science and master of science in chemical engineering degrees at Sogang University in Seoul, South Korea, and obtained his doctorate in chemical engineering at Polytechnic University in Brooklyn, N. Y.
This fall semester at New Mexico Tech, he is teaching a graduate-level course, Advanced Topics in Polymer Science.
"The graduate students in my class and my graduate research assistant have all been doing better than my expectations," Jeon says. "And, the research community is very active here, especially in comparison to other schools of this size."
Jeon's current research interests focus primarily on the structural properties of polymer materials, a research area in which he is setting up collaborative efforts with scientists in his department, Tech's materials and metallurgical engineering department, and the university's Petroleum Recovery Research Center (PRRC).
Jeon adds that he also recently received a research grant from Sandia National Laboratories to study the structure and thermal properties of polymer-polymer interfaces and polymer thin films.
"I will submit research proposals to Los Alamos and Argonne national laboratories too," Jeon says. "They use neutron beams in their polymeric materials research, and I was accustomed to using them with my previous research at NIST, which operated one of the best neutron reactor research facilities in the world."
Jeon admits he initially thought it would be difficult to adjust to small town life when he arrived in Socorro, especially since his previous residences had been near Washington, D.C. and New York City.
"But, instead, I have found people to be very friendly and very kind, both here at New Mexico Tech and in Socorro--everyone from restaurant workers to hardware store employees," he relates.
Jeon adds that his family also has adapted well to the small town lifestyle Socorro has to offer, even though their first impression was that the town was too small.
His wife, Insook, for instance, has joined the New Mexico Tech Chorus, which currently is practicing for The Messiah (to be presented on Dec. 11 and 12, 1999), and their daughter, Yena, is now involved with the student newspaper at Sarracino Middle School and also was elected to the school's student council.
"Sometimes, living a simple life is good," Jeon says.