HMNTL alumni feature: Kelson Chabak

1/13/2021 9:00:17 AM As told to Lizzie Roehrs

Who was your advisor at Holonyak Lab? 

Professor Xiuling Li, Dept of ECE Kelson Chabak

What year did you graduate? 

I defended my PhD dissertation in Sept 2016 and graduated with the December 2016 class.

Where do you work now? 

I work at Air Force Research Laboratory, Sensors Directorate where I lead a research team focused on wide bandgap and ultra-wide bandgap transistor development.

What research did you participate in at Illinois? 

I participated in Prof Li’s nanostructured electronic devices research for RF and power applications

How did your time at Illinois shape your work now? 

My experience at UIUC was a bit different than a typical graduate student.  I decided to join a PhD program after gaining work experience and starting a family.  My time at UIUC allowed me to formalize my love for doing hands-on transistor research in my prior work.  Leaving my work environment and joining Prof Li’s research group challenged me to conduct research independently while learning about research team dynamics.    

What advice do you have for current students? 

Be results-oriented to build credibility and respect in your technical field.  Establish technical depth that demands your expertise.  Be humble and ally yourself with respected colleagues that are not afraid to give you direct feedback for mentorship.