Researchers in the MONSTER group come from around the world! They come from both industry and academia, both experimental and computational science, and they have a wide range of diverse educational and personal backgrounds. Dr. Miller’s infectious love for all things metallurgy brings the group together, but the real glue of the group is the shared desire to answer the age-old questions: “Why is that metal doing that weird thing?” and “What happens if I squish it?”
Generally in charge of things around here
Assistant Professor Victoria (Tori) Miller has been in the Department of Materials Science and Engineering at the University of Florida since September 2019. Prior to her appointment at UF, she was an assistant professor at NC State University from 2017 to 2019. She received her B.S.E. in Materials Science and Engineering from the University of Michigan in 2011 and completed her Ph.D. in the Materials Department at the University of California Santa Barbara in 2016. After graduate school, she worked for a year at UES, Inc. as a Research Scientist onsite in the Materials and Manufacturing Directorate of the Air Force Research Laboratory in Dayton, OH. She had also previously worked at Ford Motor Company Research and Development, Toyota Engineering and Manufacturing North America, and Lockheed Martin Aeronautics. Outside the lab, she trains for and competes in powerlifting.
Dorkus: a derpy pink monster with a blank stare and incredible aptitude for metallurgy—the official mascot of the MONSTER group. With a mysterious origin and a Ph.D. from an undisclosed university, Dorkus brings a unique blend of charm and intellect to the team as a post-doctoral researcher. Known for their exceptional research capabilities, Dorkus seems to have a hand in every project undertaken by the group, demonstrating a remarkable breadth of knowledge and expertise. Their unwavering dedication make them an integral part of the MONSTER group’s collaborative and innovative research endeavors.
Graduate Student Researchers
Research: Magnesium, twinning analysis, & space lasers
Ben Anthony graduated from North Carolina State University with a Bachelor’s in Materials Science and Engineering in the fall of 2014. He has now ventured down to the University of Florida to seek a PhD in MSE and occasionally moonlight as a pirate, though not nearly as much as he used to. When not serving as the group’s source of eye-related puns, Ben spends his time working with magnesium alloys while holding an interest in thermomechanical processing and defense applications for materials. Ben was awarded the DoD NDSEG fellowship in 2019.
Research: Creating ICME tools
Begley graduated from the University of Kentucky with a BS in MSE in 2018. He originally went to NC State for graduate school, but was liberated from his previous research group by the MONSTER group when they moved to UF. Begley researches microstructural evolution in thermomechanical titanium processing and during laser forming of sheet metals, but much to the group’s horror, harbors a bit of residual interest in polymers from his previous research. Group subject matter expert in balloons. Outside of work, Begley really enjoys hitting and kicking things. Thanks to the fact that he is a second Ben, he’s largely forgotten that Ben is his name, and instead answers to Begley.
Yonguk ("Tony") Lee
Research: Recrystallization in Ni-based superalloys
Yonguk Lee, who also goes by Tony, joined the MONSTER Group in Fall of 2021. Gainesville, Florida is the third place he has ever resided. He was born and raised in Seoul (South Korea) for 22 years and lived in Chicago for about 15 months. He got his first BS in MSE from Illinois Institute of Technology (IIT) in December of 2020, and his second BS in MSE from Inha University in June of 2021. Yonguk studies recrystallization mechanism found in Ni-based superalloys (called heteroepitaxial recrystallization) to understand potential microstructure evolution resulted from it. Before he moved down to Gainesville, he only had been exposed to city life and was a city person. After he spent some time in Gainesville, he now becomes extreme city person, but he still loves his research members and people he has met in UF a lot.
Research: thermomagnetic processing of steels
Megan graduated from the University of Connecticut in 2021, where she earned a B.S.E. in Materials Science and Engineering. Seeking new experiences outside of chilly New England, she chose to pursue her graduate studies at the University of Florida. Megan’s research interests can easily be encapsulated by: ‘Steel, Magnets, Yeah!’. In her free time, she is an avid tea drinker and enjoys immersing herself in the delightful world of Stardew Valley. Additionally, Megan cherishes spending her time with Zoey, a lively Golden Retriever who radiates youthful energy despite the passing years.
Tianchen ("Kimi") Wei
Research: Bending stuff in space with lasers
Kimi received his B.S. in MSE from the Shaanxi University of Science and Technology, China. He started his master’s program in Spring 2021. Because he is an enthusiast of formula racing, there is no surprise why he is now doing some research on laser forming of metals. He can play the accordion and it will be a useful skill if he begins his pirate life after graduation. By the way, this photo is the first step that he tries to communicate with a real “Pirate”!
Research: Bending stuff in space with lasers, but different
Nathan Fripp graduated from the Colorado School of Mines in 2022 with a B.S in Metallurgical and Materials Engineering. After a late June snowstorm, he decided he had enough of the cold and decided to head south to Florida where it stays warm. He enjoys long walks in the swamps and hopes to have a science related Florida Man headline at some point. He is currently working on the laser forming metals project to fulfill his lifelong dream of building a supervillain superweapon.
Research: Making micro-scale Zinc frisbees
Mayo graduated from NC State University in 2023 with a B.S. in Materials Science Engineering. Following a positive experience working under Dr. Miller at NCSU as an undergraduate researcher, he decided to continue working with the group as a graduate student. Through pursuit of several personal hobbyist projects, including DIY inorganic pigment synthesis and audio engineering, Mayo gained valuable lab skills, an obsession with lithium ion batteries, and a thorough understanding of just how little he knows. He is also a pioneer in the use and development of soda tab based chainmail, including their use in modeling crystallographic defects.