Kenneth Crossley ’19, who graduated cum laude from Colorado College with a degree in physics, has been awarded a highly competitive Erasmus Mundus scholarship for a two-year joint science master’s degree.
Crossley, of Gunnison, Colorado, will attend the SERP+ (Surface, Electro-, Radiation, and Photo-chemistry) Erasmus Mundus Joint Master’s Degree program in France and Italy. He will take quantum mechanics, chemistry, and materials science courses focused on renewable energy storage and conversion at the University of Paris-Saclay and later at the University of Genoa.
After earning the SERP master’s degree, Crossley plans to enter a research and development position in a national or international lab or company where he can work to advance battery storage, fuel cells, and/or alternative fuel production.
“I am ecstatic to be able to travel, learn new languages, and study topics that will enable me to help create solutions to our energy crisis,” says Crossley. “I am particularly excited for the courses on catalysis and materials for fuel cells and batteries.”
Crossley currently works in the Center for Integrated Nanotechnologies at Los Alamos National Laboratory in New Mexico, where he evaluates nanostructures for their ability to reduce the stress induced by inserting lithium into next-generation electrodes for lithium ion batteries. “By reducing the stress in these materials, we are able to significantly increase the energy density, charging rate, and retained capacity compared with current commercial options,” he says.
While at CC, he studied abroad in Denmark during the 2018 Spring semester, where he studied Danish and sustainable development at the Danish Institute for Study Abroad in Copenhagen. While there, he also contributed to a research project at the Technical University of Denmark that characterized the structure of liquids using x-ray scattering. “I discovered that I love immersively learning languages and how one can decode elements of culture through their structures,” he says. “Perhaps more importantly, concurrently studying these disparate subjects enabled me find my niche: using physics and chemistry to create and characterize materials to address the energy storage and conversion challenges posed by the need to rapidly decarbonize our economy.”
Crossley worked as a biophysics research assistant for his First-Year Experience professors Kristine Lang [physics] and Phoebe Lostroh [molecular biology], a position he started during his first semester at CC and held for two years. He also completed two competitive Research Experience for Undergraduates, funded by the National Science Foundation, at the University of Utah and Northwestern University during the summers.
“These internships taught me the skills and confidence to independently tackle problems with unknown solutions and helped refine my direction toward sustainability-related topics,” he says.
Crossley was accepted into MaMaSelf+, another materials science Erasmus Mundus scholarship program, but decided SERP+ was a better fit for his goals. He also is one of 11 Colorado College Fulbright semifinalists this year for his science research grant proposal to study renewable hydrogen production in Spain.
“I will be forever grateful to my professors and the benefactors who made the transformative education at CC accessible to me,” says Crossley.