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COMSET Technical Staff

Iurii Bandera

Yuriy Bandera received his BS and MS in Bioorganic and Pharmaceutical Chemistry at Lviv Polytechnic National University in Lviv, Ukraine. He earned his PhD in 2005 at the Institute of Organic Chemistry, National Academy of Sciences of Ukraine in Kyiv, Ukraine. Bandera has held positions as a senior research scientist at Enamine Ltd. Ukrorgsynthes (UORSY) Ltd. Subsididary and at the Institute of Organic Chemistry, National Academy of Sciences of Ukraine in Kyiv, Ukraine. He was a research scientist at Sila Nanotechnologies Inc. in Atlanta, GA. Currently, Bandera is a research associate in the Foulger group at Clemson University. His research interest is in synthetic organic chemistry, namely modification of nanoparticles and developing compounds for memristorsnand cancer theranostics.

Thomas (Wade) Hawkins

Wade was born in Johnston, SC on July 10, 1976. He earned a BS in Ceramic Engineering in 1999 from Clemson University. He completed his M. S. in Materials Science from Clemson University in 2005. Currently he is working towards his PhD in Materials Science.

After completion of his Bachelor’s degree he began working in fiber optic cable manufacturing for AFL Telecommunications in Duncan, SC. In 2002 he returned to Clemson to begin working on his MS in Materials Science. In 2005 after completion of his degree he became a Research Associate at the Center for Optical Materials Research and Engineering Technologies (COMSET). In 2012, he took over the role as Optical Fiber Laboratories Director at COMSET. He is currently pursuing a PhD in Materials Science in addition to his duties as lab director.

Wade is currently an author on over 60 published scientific papers.

Fanting Kong

Fanting Kong received the B.A. degree in Physics from University of Science and Technology of China in 2002 and the Ph.D. degree in Physics from The City University of New York in 2010 where he continued to work as research associate until 2011. While studying at CUNY, he was engaged in research on phase locked fiber and solid-state laser arrays and biomedical-related optical physics and technology such as high-resolution photoacoustic imaging of ocular tissues and focusing through optically diffusive media. His current research is in the area of development of advanced optical fibers, components and characterization tools for high power fiber lasers. He is the author or coauthor of six journal publications and six conference papers.

Courtney Kucera

Courtney Kucera received her BS in Ceramic and Materials Engineering from Clemson in 2009. In 2007, she joined the Ballato group working on a variety of light emissive nanoparticles and optical composites. After graduation, she became a Research Associate at COMSET where she continues to focus on a variety of light emitting materials from polymers to sol gels to transparent ceramics to nanoparticles / nanocomposites, as well as with novel optical fiber optics. She managed the daily operations of the Ballato group as well centrally supports COMSET and its Ceramics, Composites, and Optical Materials Center, an NSF I/UCRC. She has over 20 publications.

Joshua Parsons

Josh graduated ITT Tech Institute with a B.S. in Electrical Engineering Technology in 2011. He joined the staff in the MCVD lab that same year. Josh designs and implements the recipes for manufacturing heavy metal-doped glass preforms. Since 2011, he has made more than 150 custom designed fiber preforms. These preforms are drawn to fiber, whose ultimate uses range from high intensity cutting lasers, to military infrared sensing technology. Josh uses his EET experience to maintain and optimize the MCVD lathe and surrounding equipment. He has also been trained to use the draw tower.

Administrative Staff

Sandra Bradberry

Sheryl Gonzalez