College of Engineering News • Iowa State University

Jacob Wheaton gains international collaboration through MSE

MSE graduate student Jacob Wheaton pouring glass
MSE graduate student Jacob Wheaton pouring glass
MSE graduate student Jacob Wheaton pouring glass.

Jacob Wheaton is a problem-solver.

It’s what makes him a Cyclone Engineer and what makes him passionate about his work as a graduate student in the Department of Materials Science and Engineering (MSE).

“I like the fact there are a lot of different problems to solve in engineering,” Wheaton said. “There is always something to work towards, and it’s very satisfying when you find the solution. And I just really enjoy learning, and with materials engineering, it is easy to do a deep dive into a range of topics.”

In high school, Wheaton initially gravitated toward physics and chemistry, but he knew he wanted to go into engineering. After speaking with MSE academic advisor Andrea Klocke, he realized materials engineering was the interdisciplinary program he sought.

“Materials engineering is an interesting cross-section of a lot of different fields. It is heavy engineering, and it can be heavy chemistry or physics if you want it to be,” Wheaton said. “It is a very good balance of those three things, and that is exactly what I was looking for.”

International innovation

While working his way through his undergrad studies and thinking about graduate school, Anson Martin Distinguished Professor Steve Martin offered Wheaton a chance to study in France over one summer after learning about his French double major.

“When I was in France, I found out I really enjoyed doing glass research,” Wheaton said. “And when I returned to the U.S., Dr. Martin offered me a Ph.D. position in his group, and that is where I am now.”

His connection to France grew even deeper during his time in MSE. He spearheaded a collaborative research project between researchers at the University of Rennes in France and Iowa State, visiting again this past fall to facilitate collaboration and exchange research methods.

“MSE has afforded me great opportunities for research and collaboration, and I look forward to what the future holds,” Wheaton said.