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Beckingham named director of Auburn’s Center for Polymers and Advanced Composites

By Cassie Montgomery

Published: Jan 25, 2023 9:00:00 AM

Bryan Beckingham Bryan Beckingham

Chemical Engineering Associate Professor Bryan Beckingham has been named the new director of the Center for Polymers and Advanced Composites (CPAC) at Auburn University, according to a recent announcement from Steve Taylor, interim dean of the Samuel Ginn College of Engineering. Beckingham assumed the role effective Jan. 1.

“The Center for Polymers and Advanced Composites has a rich history and proven track record of bringing together talented researchers and students from across the globe to make new strides in the areas of polymers and advanced composites research,” Taylor said. “I am excited to see the center continue to grow and innovate as Dr. Beckingham builds upon the foundation laid by CPAC’s previous leadership.”

Beckingham succeeds Maria Auad, the college’s associate dean for graduate studies and faculty development, who served as the center’s inaugural director from 2015 to 2022.

In his role as CPAC director, Beckingham will serve as the primary point of contact to focus the college’s efforts in the fields of polymers and advanced composites. CPAC’s mission is to bring together industry and university researchers in collaboration to generate, facilitate and exchange fundamental and applied knowledge on topics of high relevance to the polymer and composites industries. The center offers specialized testing services in several areas, including chemical, mechanical and thermal characterization. Through advanced polymer chemistry and testing laboratories, the center also innovates in materials processing and manufacturing research. Also included within CPAC’s purview is the educational program for the polymer and fiber engineering graduate program. 

“Overall, my vision for CPAC is embodied in the word ‘center.’ A center is a place of community and engagement. It is a place that brings together faculty, students and stakeholders in order to foster communication, education and research that makes an impact,” Beckingham said. “I believe that CPAC has, and can continue to live up to, this aspiration, and I am excited about taking on this larger role as director to facilitate new opportunities for CPAC faculty and students to advance their research and education.” 

CPAC fosters collaborations among multiple academic units across campus, including the Samuel Ginn College of Engineering; the College of Sciences and Mathematics; College of Forestry, Wildlife and Environment; and the College of Agriculture. With nearly 30 affiliated faculty spanning nearly every department in the College of Engineering, CPAC’s impact is wide-reaching. 

“This is a great opportunity to take what the center was doing and do more. I think there’s a lot of research opportunity right now, and particularly in our interactions with Huntsville,” Beckingham said. “Our graduate program is also really important to me as a faculty member and something I’ve been wanting to take a more leading role in, so this position allows for me to take part in that aspect, as well.”

Beckingham joined the Auburn chemical engineering faculty in spring 2016. His research focuses on exploring the relationships between polymerization chemistry, polymer architecture and the resulting material properties with the goal of advancing the thoughtful design of polymeric materials for targeted applications. In 2020, Beckingham became the first Auburn Engineering faculty member to earn the Department of Energy Office of Science’s Early Career Award. In 2021, he was named a Ginn Faculty Achievement Fellow, a member of the IE&C Research Class of Influential Researchers – The Americas, and was included in the Journal of Polymer Science Early-Career Investigator Special Issue. Prior to Auburn, Beckingham was a postdoctoral fellow at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory. He earned a doctorate in chemical and materials engineering from Princeton University.

Media Contact: Cassie Montgomery, cmontgomery@auburn.edu, 334.844.3668

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