Meet the User: Hunter Holden
The National Center for Earth and Environmental Nanotechnology Infrastructure (NanoEarth) at Virginia Tech (VT) is part of a network of 16 user facility sites called the National Nanotechnology Coordinated Infrastructure (NNCI) funded by the National Science Foundation (NSF). The next user highlighted in NanoEarth’s Meet the User Series, Hunter Holden, Nanoscience Ph.D. candidate at UNC Greensboro, has worked with two sites within the NNCI network: NanoEarth and the Southeastern Nanotechnology Infrastructure Corridor (SENIC) facility at the Joint School of Nanoscience and Nanoengineering (JSNN).
Hunter Holden began his nanoscience journey in high school when his dad signed him up for NanoCamp at Virginia Tech. This sparked an interest in science, which led to Holden’s application and acceptance into Virginia Tech’s College of Science (COS) Academy of Integrated Science (AIS) for a Bachelor of Science degree in Nanoscience. While at VT, Holden learned from NanoEarth’s Founding Director Mike Hochella, Ph.D. and current Deputy Director Marc Michel, Ph.D. and trained at the Nanoscale Characterization and Fabrication Laboratory (NCFL) on the scanning electron microscope (SEM) and the transmission electron microscope (TEM).
Upon graduation, Holden realized an advanced degree would be needed for his desired field, which led him to UNC Greensboro and JSNN. Before beginning his graduate career, he took part in NSF’s Innovation Corps (I-Corps) program, an immersive entrepreneurial training program that facilitates the transformation of invention to impact. His regional I-Corps team was so successful that it advanced to the national level. While in his Ph.D. program, Holden has worked with Dennis LaJeunesse, Ph.D. on nanomaterial research. He has also worked with the International Space Station National Laboratory (ISS National Laboratory) and the NASA L’Space Program.
Holden’s time with NanoEarth has him considering the environmental impacts of new materials and raw ingredients. After participating in the NNCI Nanotechnology Entrepreneurship Challenge (NTEC) program, led by NanoEarth’s Associate Director for Innovation and Entrepreneurship Matt Hull, Ph.D., he now thinks about the scalability and marketability of the end product. Holden is currently looking forward to graduation with his Nanoscience Ph.D. in May 2024.