Meet Jasmine Sabio: Nanofabrication Process Engineer

Nanotech NYC sits down with students, faculty and researchers from across the city to give those interested a glimpse into the local nanotechnology scene. Today we sit down with Jasmine Sabio, a Nanofabrication Process Engineer at the CUNY Advanced Science Research Center Nanofabrication Facility.

Jasmine Sabio, Process Engineer at the CUNY Advanced Science Research Center Nanofabrication Facility

Tell us a little bit about where you are from.

I was born in Long Island, New York but was raised in Huntsville, Alabama. I circled back to New York after ~20 years in Alabama; however, I don't remember New York too much since my family moved to Alabama when I was really young. So for those who think I come from a one-stoplight kind of town, you may be surprised. Huntsville has a rich history and presence in engineering (NASA, Boeing) and was actually recently ranked 3rd in high tech jobs.

Where did you complete your undergraduate and any graduate degrees prior to this one?

I received my B.S. in Chemical Engineering at the University of Alabama and my M.S. in Chemical Engineering at New York University.

How was your transition from Alabama to NYC?

I get this question a lot - it's a justified curiosity because Alabama is very different from NYC. For me, the change was easy. I complement the fast paced milieu that NYC thrives on. It also helped that I did a summer abroad before I moved to NYC. For 6 weeks, I was visiting 6 new cities and countries and had to learn to quickly assimilate to a new culture, language and surroundings. By the time I made it to NYC, moving around was a breeze because everything was in English.

Jasmine at her desk working on a microfluidic design for one of her collaborative projects with area researchers.

What was your master’s research on at NYU? What kinds of applications are there for it?

At NYU, and under the supervision of Dr. Hartman, I had a goal to study the dissociation of methane at moderate temperatures, opposed to traditionally high temperatures. A palladium carbon-carbon cross-coupling reaction was chosen for the study and I was tasked with designing and fabricating a microfluidic device to serve as a platform to study the reaction. The success of this study would give us insight on what parameters can dissociate methane at low and moderate temperatures which in turn would feed a much larger scale application: safely and efficiently controlling methane emissions that are contributing to global warming.

How did you figure out you wanted to specialize in this area?

I owe my passion and enthusiasm to Dr. Hartman. With his guidance and mentorship, he exposed me to the field of microfluidics and nanofabrication which I wouldn't have gained on my own. Then through exposure and experience, my excitement and curiosity in the field grew.

Tell me about your current occupation. What are your main responsibilities and what does a day look like for you?

I'm currently a Nanofabrication Process Engineer at the Advanced Science Research Center. In the nanofabrication facility, we hold over 30 nanofabrication tools that over 500 users utilize. With the rest of the nanofabrication support staff, we maintain the operation of the tools and lab along with training users on how to use the tools. Aside from maintenance, I like to think of myself as a research shaman for the users. I offer my input and expertise to users as they move through their processing to help point them in the right direction.

I also have my own projects and collaborations. I'm remotely processing microfluidic molds and chips for Columbia University and Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory, collaborating with Dr. Shereen from the Neuroscience Initiative of the ASRC to improve Diffusion Tensor Imaging in MRI, and continuously involved with the extensive outreach that is held at the ASRC. So a typical day for me starts with making sure the users of the ASRC are ready and equipped with what they need for their processing and the rest of my time is dedicated to my side projects.

Jasmine adjusting probes on a probe station used to characterize the electrical properties of devices and materials in the cleanroom.

How did you come into being a Nanofabrication Process Engineer? Was it something you thought you would do in the future while going through school?

At NYU, I spent about a year working and completing my research in the very same nanofabrication lab I'm a process engineer for. As my masters came to an end and I was struggling to find a job, the current director of the nanofabrication facility, Dr. Trevino, encouraged me to apply as a nanofabrication process engineer at the ASRC. Three months later, I joined the nanofab staff and have been at the ASRC for about a year and a half now.

As I was going through school, life after school wasn't something I was planning - all my time and energy was expelled on wrapping up my project before I graduated. However, when I was conducting my research at the nanofab, I was always interested in more than my own work and was proactive in helping out in the lab. So when I graduated and moved into a staff position at the ASRC, my job responsibilities felt organic and intuitive.