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Recent Bachelor’s Profile: Andrés Márquez Rossy

Post-bachelor’s program participant finds calling in engineering research

ORNL Intern Andrés Márquez Rossy

Researcher Andrés Márquez Rossy finishes rolling up a dried tape cast that will be used in solid oxide fuel cells for batteries in cars, planes, homes and other applications.

Even before Andrés Márquez Rossy began participating in the Post-Bachelor’s Research Program at Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL), he knew he wanted a career in the world of scientific research. But now, instead of aiming for a job with a pharmaceutical company, Márquez Rossy knows he wants a career performing research at a laboratory.

“Since the moment I arrived at ORNL and witnessed the great minds that work here and the quality and capacity of systems here, it just called to me,” said Márquez Rossy. “The work done at ORNL serves not only to assert our place in this world as a global leader, but to also create technologies that will benefit poorer nations that have been unable to develop as far as us.”

While pursuing his chemical engineering degree in 2010 from the Polytechnic University of Puerto Rico, Márquez Rossy first came to ORNL through the U.S. Department of Energy’s Faculty and Student Teams (FaST) program where he worked mainly with materials science and mechanical engineering. He enjoyed the research he conducted so much that he decided to return the next year through ORAU’s Higher Education Research Experiences (HERE) program at the completion of his bachelor’s degree and eventually, in summer 2013, he applied and was accepted to ORAU’s Post-bachelor’s Research Program.

With his mentor Edgar Lara-Curzio, Márquez Rossy has participated in countless research projects; typically working on several research activities a day, on a wide range of projects spanning from energy sustainability to studies on the effects of volcanic ash particles on airplane engines. Currently, his main project is working with solid oxide fuel cell research for stationary power generation and auxiliary power units for transportation. During his appointment through the HERE program he helped to develop a thin film for phone batteries that prevents short circuits, which is now installed in most new cell phones on the market.

“Even though I had a background with chemical engineering and not mechanical, it took me no time at all to learn and enjoy what I do,” said Márquez Rossy. “Once I realized how interconnected the different fields of engineering are, I was given a different and intriguing perspective on it all. It has definitely opened me up to new things in my field of work.”

The Post-Bachelor’s Research Program, which is administered by the Oak Ridge Institute for Science and Education (ORISE) for the U.S. Department of Energy, is a program that invites recent graduates to conduct research in areas that support ORNL missions in the basic and applied sciences, and energy and environmental fields. Alongside a mentor, the participants gain hands-on, real-world research skills, exposure to state-of-the-art technologies, and the opportunity to make significant scientific contributions early in their careers.

“I have been told so many times that I must be the busiest person here, and all I can say is bring it on,” said Márquez Rossy. “I enjoy it all so much. My research feels like playing sports, I’m always happy and ecstatic of the huge variety of research I am doing. The only downside is that it also makes time fly; I can barely believe it’s been four years since I first came to ORNL through the FaST program.”

Márquez Rossy isn’t just busy in the lab, either. He loves to cook and even owns a baking company with a neighbor.  He also is an avid traveler, who enjoys exploring national parks, going skiing, and bringing friends that he’s met in Knoxville on vacation to Puerto Rico, his home country. As an Eagle Scout he also gives back to the community by working as a staff member with a local Boy Scout troop.

Looking towards the future, Márquez Rossy plans to pursue a master’s degree in polymer science. If the opportunity arises, he hopes for a permanent position at ORNL.

“The best part about this entire experience for me was coming to a totally unknown area, where I had no knowledge of the culture,” said Márquez Rossy. “I loved immersing myself in the lifestyle of East Tennessee just as much as I enjoyed the research experience. I tell everyone I know and meet to try and get an internship; the amount of knowledge and experience you gain from working here is amazing.”