Graduate Finds Niche in Physics Research

JJ Naddeo graduates from Rutgers-Camden with a physics degree.

JJ Naddeo graduates from Rutgers-Camden with a physics degree.

Even when a student begins his or her collegiate journey unsure of what lies ahead, it doesn’t take too long for all of the pieces to seamlessly fall into place.

“I could lie and say I always wanted to do research, but I came into it with no expectations,” says JJ Naddeo, a Marlton resident who will graduate from Rutgers University–Camden with a bachelor’s degree in physics on May 21.

“I always looked at physics as a challenge and when I came to Rutgers–Camden, research opportunities just started to open up,” Naddeo says. “I love it. I think I got lucky and it’s become part of my whole identity.”

Now an experienced researcher and published author, Naddeo feels that he found his niche and says he’s excited to make even more contributions to the scientific community. At Rutgers–Camden, he is part of a research team responsible for creating nanoparticles from different materials — such as copper, gold, and silver — through a process called laser ablation, which is removing material from a solid or liquid surface by irradiating it with a laser beam.

Naddeo uses the photocatalytic ability of silver nanoparticles to kill E. coli bacteria and he says the nanoparticles are an effective antibacterial agent that can serve as a new way to fight off other harmful bacteria.

The Cherokee High School graduate will present his research with classmate Matthew Ratti at the Conference on Laser Ablation in Australia later this year. Naddeo and Ratti also recently published a review article on laser ablation in the journal Advanced Science Focus.

“Sometimes these review articles take a whole year to complete. We got it done in three months. It was a lot of hard work and coffee, but we got it done,” says Naddeo, who reviewed 300 research papers for the article.

“Now that I have research experience and have been a first author on a paper and have taught classes, I have an advantage that not many other students have. It’s given me this experience in biology and physics and it’s made me a more versatile student. Rutgers–Camden set me up better than any other college could have.”

Naddeo also proctors a physics review course for other Rutgers–Camden undergraduate students under Danny Bubb, a professor of physics at Rutgers University–Camden, which has thrust him into a mentorship role.

“It’s mutually beneficial, because I’m helping the other students, but I’m learning a lot from it, too,” he says. “It shows that if you come into the lab and do good work, you can put yourself into a position to advance yourself. Teaching the class helped me develop confidence and made me better at speaking and making presentations.”

After he graduates with his bachelor’s degree in physics this spring, Naddeo says he will return to Rutgers–Camden in the fall to complete a second degree in economics. After that, the opportunities are limitless.

“I want to apply to as many grad schools I can and just see what the best fit would be,” he says. “I want to continue to do research. I’m excited to make more contributions to the field.”

Posted in: Scarlet Pride

Comments are closed.