Kei Heltemes

Kei is a current student Augsburg University, double-majoring in Chemistry (ACS-approved) and Physics, and minoring in Mathematics. He is also the president of both the Society of Physics Students (SPS) and the Augsburg Chemistry Society (ACS). He has participated in several different research projects in various disciplines. In the summer of his sophomore year, Kei worked with Augsburg professor, Dr. Jeff Walter, in his Ph.D. advisor’s laboratory in the chemical engineering and materials science (CEMS) department at the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities (UMN). In their work, they successfully, and controllably induced a ferromagnetic state in originally diamagnetic pyrite iron disulfide by applying a voltage to pyrite single crystals, which has potential applications in developing next-generation electronic devices that strive to achieve increased performance without increasing transistor count. Having interests in materials science and engineering led Kei to apply to the NASA space grant for additional undergraduate funding, helping him fund his research. Being unable to work in the laboratory the summer after his junior year due to COVID-19, Kei was tasked with repairing the Augsburg physics department’s CNC machine. His earlier work with Dr. Walter led to his decision to pursue a Ph.D. in materials science. He aspires to either work in industry or a national lab with the hopes to continue similar fundamental research on materials capable of revolutionizing the way that inefficient or unsustainable processes are performed.