Alumni Spotlight: Brea Hogan
M.S. Forensic Science and Law, 2018
B.A. Biochemistry, 2017
Brea Hogan is a Ph.D. Candidate in Materials Science and Engineering at the University of California Los Angeles (UCLA). She is currently working in collaboration with NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) as a Graduate Student Researcher under the advisement of Dr. Sabah Bux and Dr. Bruce Dunn.
Brea is developing materials for radioisotope thermoelectric generators (RTGs) that are currently used for NASA missions such as Voyager 1 & 2, Curiosity and the Mars 2020 Rover. These materials provide electrical power for spacecraft, and improving the efficiency of these materials is necessary to increase the overall lifetime of NASA missions. Excess heat from RTGs are also used as a convenient source of warmth to maintain proper operating temperatures for spacecraft and its instruments in cold environments.
Brea informed that the Forensic Science and Law program's smaller classroom sizes enabled her to develop personal communications with professors and peers and her communication skills flourished. Brea received extensive research opportunities. She was able to successfully synthesize semiconductors that can be used as latent fingerprint powders which enhance the presence of friction ridges compared to commercially available options. Brea informed conducting independent research projects broadened her horizon in terms of how to connect different fields of study to push scientific advancements. She can be quoted as "I really appreciate how the program advocates students to participate in summer research, which was how I was able to land internships at JPL. Even though my current research does not directly impact the forensic science field, I continually use the skills I cultivated in the Forensic Science and Law program throughout my doctoral studies."