PhD Graduate
Undergraduate: Chemical Engineering, University of Belgrade
Postdoc:University of Chicago/Argonne National Lab (2019)
Awards: Frank J. Padden Jr. Award; UIC Excellence In Undergraduate Mentoring Award (Honorable Mention); Research Image Completion Recipient

Jelena Dinic

About Jelena:
Jelena is a recent PhD graduate with the Department of Chemical Engineering at UIC. Jelena enjoys reading books, taking long walks, and enjoying the company of friends and family. In Jelena’s opinion, Chicago is the best place for doing a PhD. It has a lot of great restaurants (any type of cuisine that a person can think of), a lot of concerts and music festivals are taking place in Chicago every year. Her love for Chicago is perfectly summarized when she states, “There is never a boring moment in Chicago”. She has two dogs and listens and plays piano. Jelena will be graduating Fall 2018.

Jelena Dinic received the Frank J. Padden Jr. Award. This award is given to graduate students at the annual March meeting of the American Physical Society. The award recognizes graduate students for “Excellence in Polymer Physics Research.”

The polymer physics area of research brings together researchers from different fields, chemical engineering being one of them. It is of a great benefit for the chemical engineering field whenever an award like this is given to a chemical engineer. As Jelena states, “[It] represents a great recognition in the polymer physics area of research. It gives me the opportunity to meet and interact with scientists who work on various research topics, as well as other graduate students who were selected as finalists for this award. There are a lot of positive outcomes of receiving this award and I truly appreciate all of them. I plan to continue working on problems related to polymer physics in my postdoc as I find the broad and interdisciplinary field of polymer physics quite fascinating.
Jelena’s work focuses on understanding shear and extensional rheology response of polymer solutions and other complex (or non-Newtonian) fluids. Complex fluids are ubiquitous in our everyday life. For example, many food materials are emulsions, particle dispersions or foams, i.e. complex fluids with a highly non-Newtonian rate-dependent shear viscosity. “Understanding a rheological response of any simple (Newtonian) or complex (non-Newtonian) material requires understanding of transport phenomena and application of fundamental chemical engineering principles.

Looking ahead…
Like many of us, Jelena is not without challenges when it comes to research, and this is no exception. However, we asked Jelena to give us some insight on how to approach these obstacles and she provided some words of wisdom and encouragement to current and future graduate students: 

I would advise every graduate student to spend some time researching various fellowship and/or award opportunities. There are a lot of interesting opportunities at UIC… The common challenges/obstacles in graduate school include those associated with time management, lack of motivation and thesis/papers writing. I think every student will experience those at some point during graduate studies and it is important to learn how to deal with them. There are many simple, yet quite helpful, ways of dealing with challenging situations in graduate school… It is important to stay informed about all the opportunities on campus, but also about those at the national and international level. Identifying opportunities and applying for any award or fellowship is time-consuming and many students do not even try it. [Students] should always remember, receiving an award is not only about receiving a cash prize or adding a line to the CV. Even the smallest award will provide a graduate student with an important experience and a great opportunity for a personal and professional growth”.