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Student successes in graduate school: Fotios-Christos A. Kafantaris

Fotios-Christos A. Kafantaris | Ph.D. Student, Earth Sciences | Department of Earth Sciences I like that Indianapolis is such a diverse place where I can interact with people from all over the world.

What degree are you working toward?

PhD in Applied Earth Sciences

Why did you choose graduate school at IUPUI?

It chose me. Geological reasons led me to get stranded in Texas where I started my doctoral work at UTEP for a year and a half. After that, and with the moving of my old advisor, I applied to schools in Indiana and got accepted to work with Prof. Druschel. Then I found my wife Diana, started family, have two beautiful kids, Antonios and Eleni, and soon I will be Doctor of Science as well…!

What has been your favorite academic accomplishment since you’ve been here?

The fact that I can finally do the work I always dreamed of, that is playing with test tubes and bottles in the lab! In all honesty, it took me almost 4 years to understand how to work towards giving answers to the scientific questions of my project, and less than a year to actually get more than 80% of the data I have collected so far. That IS an accomplishment for me!

What do you enjoy most about life in Indianapolis?

I like the Orthodox Christian communities in town because there are many of them from all over the world, so I can experience different cultures with which I share in faith. I attend St Nicholas Serbian Orthodox Church and I am the President of the Choir of my Parish. I also like that Indianapolis is such a diverse place where I can interact with people from all over the world, but on the same time it holds its own traditional identity which passes in a lovely way when one interacts with the local people of Indiana. I am blessed to have married a Hoosier because I got to discover a lot of things about the tradition of the Midwest, especially Indiana, through my in-laws and their extended family. Indianapolis is a great place to live in, study and raise a family.

Please provide some details about your work/research as a graduate student and/or any activities you are involved in.

I am investigating the thermodynamics and kinetics of the nucleophilic dissolution reaction of elemental sulfur. I form sulfur nanoparticles (S8nano) of various surface properties (hydrophilic or hydrophobic, with or without surfactant coating) and investigate how the kinetics and thermodynamics of the above reaction change under different S8nano conditions. Field analogue sites include Yellowstone National Park, US and Milos Island hydrothermal system, Aegean Sea, Greece. Various stages of this work have been presented in national and international conferences including AGU, GSA and ACS meetings, as well as local symposia (Midwest GeoBiology). The complete story on the kinetics of the above reaction was presented at 2016 AGU Annual Meeting at San Francisco, CA last December thanks to this travel grant as well as the NSF grant that supports our work.

Fotios is also a recipient of the IUPUI Travel Fellowship award. Read more about his Travel Fellowship here »

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