EECS Grads Making a Difference in the World

More than ever EECS grads are becoming involved in efforts to address the larger issues of our day – reflecting the strength of their EECS preparation and exposure to both fundamentals and contemporary engineering and research challenges while studying here at EECS.

Marcie Black chose EECS and MIT because of the dedicated and bright teachers who were always willing to satisfy her never-ending curiosity. She concentrated in electronic materials after Prof. del Alamo’s 6.012. She finished her M.Eng. in 1995 and took a position at Motorola’s R&D semiconductor fab in Austin to learn the manufacturing side of silicon technology. As a device engineer at Motorola, she helped combine nonvolatile memory and low voltage logic on the same chip. “The lessons of teamwork that I learned during late night group sessions working on problem sets proved invaluable in my career.”

In 2006, Black, MEng. '95, PhD '05, co-founded Bandgap Engineering, an earlystage VC-backed firm.

In 2006, Black, MEng. '95, PhD '05, co-founded Bandgap Engineering, an earlystage VC-backed firm.

After some initial success in industry, she realized that having a PhD would help her pursue her true ambitions. So she returned to MIT to work with Prof. Millie Dresselhaus. “I enjoy learning the fundamental physics that we employ to make useful devices — it’s the connection between solid state physics all the way to 6.004. Millie not only taught me the fundamentals of solid state physics — with her 7am extra tutorial sessions! — but also taught me how to ask the right questions, to identify what you don’t know, and to find people that can help you fill in these knowledge gaps.”

Following completion of her PhD in 2003, Black took a post doc at Los Alamos National Laboratory working on organic and nanostructured solar cells and continued at LANL as a technical staff member developing various nano and micro technologies. It was here that she developed technology for a high efficiency silicon solar cell which her company, Bandgap Engineering, successfully licensed from LANL. In 2006, Black co-founded Bandgap Engineering, an early stage VC-backed firm. Her company, located in Waltham, MA, is now developing a manufacturing process to utilize this technology to make photovoltaics cost competitive with conventional power sources.

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