Behind the Lens: Meet CEMAS' José Smokowski

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José Smokowski headshot

As an applied researcher at The Ohio State University’s Center for Electron Microscopy and Analysis (CEMAS), José Smokowski is doing a little bit of everything.

He works with many types of instruments at CEMAS and plays a critical role in guiding users through research projects. José joined CEMAS in April and brings experience from different facilities on multiple continents, working with several types of instruments. He recently took time to share insight into his journey, as well as what it is like to work at a world-class microscopy facility like CEMAS.

CEMAS: What is your role at CEMAS?

José Smokowski: My title is applied researcher, which means I work in a lot of different areas. I work with scanning electron microscopy (SEM), focused ion beam (FIB) microscopy and micro-computed tomography (microCT), as well as anything else that needs support. work and help with projects and direct customers to what instruments to do with their projects

CEMAS: What led you to work at CEMAS?

Smokowski: I really wanted to work in a world-class facility and be able to teach people how to use the tools. CEMAS has great opportunities to give training and teach classes so users can collect data on our instruments. Prior to CEMAS, I worked at Thermo Fisher Scientific in Oregon as systems engineer senior intern, where I was able to characterize these tools and work on failure parameters. Being at CEMAS allows me to be able to use the instruments to collect data, which is exciting,

CEMAS: What has made CEMAS the right fit for you?

Smokowski: Everyone that is at CEMAS is very friendly and helpful. They all have a great amount of knowledge about microscopy and are willing to share with me. Learning from everyone has been tremendous so far.

CEMAS: Is there a particular project or research topic you have been involved in that has been the most exciting?

Smokowski: I have had fun learning about 3D reconstructions that CEMAS can do with a few different softwares, CEMAS’ capacity for in situ characterization is amazing and would be interested in working on that at some point.

CEMAS: What is your favorite part of being at Ohio State and CEMAS?

Smokowski: Everyone has been so friendly and welcoming since I got to Ohio.

CEMAS: If you could visit anywhere in the world, where would it be and why?

Smokowski: I have spent a lot of time in Costa Rica and Peru and the people there are great, and they have great coffee. I would want to go to Cuba or somewhere in Europe since I have not been there before.

CEMAS: What is a hobby you have always wanted to pick up, but haven’t yet?

Smokowski: I have always wanted to pick up a woodworking hobby, but I have never had the space for the equipment. I think it would be awesome to build a chess set myself. I have always found chess sets particularly interesting because of the time and precision it would take to carve each piece.