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Dr. Cassandra (Degen) Birrenkott received her B.S. degree in Metallurgical Engineering from the South Dakota School of Mines and Technology in 2007. She received her Ph.D. in Materials Science and Engineering in 2012 from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, studying mechanochemical reactions of a spiropyran mechanophore in polymeric materials under shear loading. She is currently an Assistant Professor in the Mechanical Engineering Department at the South Dakota School of Mines and Technology where her research interests include novel manufacturing and characterization techniques of polymer and composite structures, the incorporation of multifunctionality in polymeric materials by inducing desired responses to mechanical loading stimuli, and STEM education.
Mr. Carter Barkley is a current M.S. student in the JMP Lab studying the response of thermoplastic matrix composite joints to various loading conditions. He received his B.S. degree in Mechanical Engineering from the South Dakota School of Mines and Technology (SD Mines) in 2019. He has also worked for the Composites and Polymer Engineering (CAPE) Lab at SD Mines where he assisted with the manufacturing of continuous fiber reinforced thermoplastic prepreg production machines.