Materials Research Science and Engineering Center
Graduate Student

Katherine R. Phillips
School of Engineering and Applied Sciences

Katherine R. Phillips is a Ph.D. Candidate in Chemistry at Harvard University's Department of Chemistry and Chemical Biology. Katherine grew up in Charlotte, NC, before heading to Brown for college, where she graduated in 2010 with a degree in chemistry and mathematics. During college, she participated in inorganic chemistry research, which soon translated into an interest in making new materials. After graduation, she spent several months conserving artwork before joining the chemistry department here at Harvard. She currently studies how sol-gel chemistry can be used to control colloidal assembly processes, using molecular control over the nanoscale structure to achieve novel macroscopic properties. She is particularly interested in these optical and catalytic properties of these materials. Katherine has also been involved in other synthetic strategies, such as applying the microfluidic technology developed in the Weitz laboratory at the MRSEC to fabricate spherical colloidal assemblies with interesting grating effects. When not in laboratory, Katherine's hobbies include rowing and music. She is also involved in the undergraduate community, as a teacher (for numerous science courses from general education to graduate level), a mentor (mentoring several undergraduate students in the laboratory), and an advisor (as a resident tutor in Winthrop House). Her love for sharing the power of science also led her to co-found an outreach program called Local Students, Global Problems, in which local high-school students come to Harvard and then brainstorm about the challenges preventing scientific solutions to big problems.