Texas A&M University - Corpus Christi

Valerie Ferdin

An Outstanding Islander

Outline photo of Valerie Ferdin
A Mark of Success

Alumnus Valerie Ferdin has definitely left her mark of success at the Island University.

From assisting with cold plasma research in an effort to make life better for millions of people, to being named the first Islander Apprentice, Ferdin made the most of her experiences while attending the University.

Ferdin, a Corpus Christi native, graduated in spring 2013 with a Bachelors of Science in Mechanical Engineering and a minor in Mathematics. 

For the past two years, Ferdin worked under the guidance of Dr. Magesh Thiyagarajan, Director of Plasma Engineering Research and Assistant Professor of Engineering, conducting experiments and researching the effects of cold plasma and its biomedical applications.

One of the most exciting findings of the team is how cold plasma causes cancer cells to die naturally in a laboratory setting.  Clinical trials will determine if this application can translate to a future cure for cancer. Ferdin and Thiyagarajan have also uncovered how cold plasma accelerates wound healing, sterilizes surgical instruments in just seconds, and kills bacteria in our food.

“The engineering projects I have been involved with have put me at the front and center of my field,” said Ferdin.

Ferdin also helped jump start the production of an unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) with the capabilities to dive underwater and fly above water.

As both a McNair Scholar and Louis Stokes Alliance for Minority Participation (LSAMP) scholar, Ferdin feels being a scholar has been the most rewarding and has provided great opportunities for conducting research. 

“I really enjoy the research, which is why I signed up for graduate school,” she said.

Recently, Ferdin was accepted to the University of North Texas’ Material Science and Engineering Ph.D. Program, the University of Texas at San Antonio (UTSA) Masters in Mechanical Engineering Program, and the Island University Master’s in Business Administration Graduate Program.

On May 1, Ferdin was announced as the winner of the University’s first Islander Apprentice. She competed against eight other contestants and won nearly $2,000 in prizes.

“The University has presented me with so many opportunities that I wouldn’t have gotten anywhere else,” Ferdin said. “I have learned so much about myself and enhanced my ability to effectively communicate with others.”


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