Company: University of Central Florida
Title: UCF Faculty/Imec Assignee
Education: Technische Universität Darmstadt
Years in area: 12 ½
Years at Company: 1
When Sabine O’Neal was deciding on her career path, she considered two paths that seemed, at first sight, completely disparate: Linguistics or physics. While she ultimately chose to pursue physics and mathematics, in hindsight her love of these two distinct subjects speaks to the curiosity that has kept her motivated. Whether language or material sciences, O’Neal was fueled by a desire to understand the fundamental structures that come together to form complex systems that shape our worlds. O’Neal has followed that desire for knowledge to fascinating places and opportunities, all the way to her current position with UCF as an Imec assignee (Imec USA Nanoelectronics Design Center in Kissimmee).
After attending the Technische Universität Darmstadt in Germany, where she obtained a Masters in Physics, O’Neal went on to the Netherlands, where she completed her Ph.D. in physics at the Leiden University. After completing her degrees, she worked in academic publishing as a publishing editor for five years before moving on to positions that included consultant, expert witness, and research scientist or director for several institutions, including UCF.
Working towards identification and development of new and improved device technologies for active imaging systems, her current role with UCF as an Imec assignee means her days are varied with research in new materials and structures for photoconductors, lasers and detectors.
Some days are driven more by work at a desk, pouring over the workings of the latest technologies and research in her field. The others are spent in the lab, studying and creating materials first hand. Still, each one provides her with an opportunity to explore both her love of physics and her appreciation for the power of communication and connection in the journey towards discovery. It is not only that variety that keeps her motivated, it is the team that surrounds her. Her work is an integral part of projects that often have large teams of individuals working on them.
“Working with complex devices requires integration and teamwork,” O’Neal explained. “It’s more pressure when you’re part of a team that is relying on you, but also more rewarding to know you’re part of a bigger picture.”