Science Student Spotlight: Justin Engstler

January 30, 2023

The Nanoscience master’s student has co-authored four journal articles.

Justin Engstler - Nanoscience student

In his time at CUNY, Nanoscience master’s student Justin Engstler has co-authored four journal articles with his mentor, Professor Nicolas Giovambattista. With his substantial publishing and research experience, and on the verge of graduating with his master’s degree, Engstler is ready to combine his interests in soft matter, materials science, nanofabrication, programming, and engineering in a fulfilling career.

Engstler began the Nanoscience master’s program in 2021, after receiving a B.S. in physics from Brooklyn College in 2018. While in the program, he has focused his research on using molecular dynamics simulations to investigate water-mediated interactions at the nanoscale. He is trained to use concepts of statistical mechanics and thermodynamics to better understand how the presence of water allows self-assembly processes to exist. His aim is to learn how to use this knowledge to build useful nanostructures. He and Giovambattista, who is an affiliate member of the Nanoscience Initiative at the Graduate Center’s Advanced Science Research Center (CUNY ASRC), often find themselves asking, “What’s the mechanism?” Finding the answer is a gradual process that requires curiosity and dedication. The payoff is the pleasure of discovery.

Learn More About the M.S. Program in Nanoscience

Engstler and Giovambattista published their most recent paper — their fourth co-authored article since 2017 — in the Journal of Chemical Physics in August 2022. They are already at work on another manuscript.

Engstler balances his studies with a full-time position in the physics department at New York University. He is involved with teaching, designing, and building physics demonstrations for undergraduate and graduate lectures. The role allows him to combine his creativity in teaching with his knowledge of physics and engineering, and it has driven his passion for handiwork in electronics, mechanical engineering, and programming.

Engstler aspires to a career in scientific research and development. As a lifelong New York City dweller with a love of skiing and rock climbing, he also hopes his next line of work will bring him somewhere with mountains nearby.