People

Joshua Island – Principal Investigator – joshua.islandATunlv.edu
Joshua completed his undergraduate degree in Physics and Mathematics at University of New Mexico in 2008. He then moved to Montreal, Canada to pursue a Master’s degree in Physics at Concordia University. It was in Prof. Alexandre Champagne’s research group where he was introduced to the joys of experimental physics. After two years he moved to the city of Delft in the Netherlands to pursue a PhD in Physics at Delft University of Technology under the supervision of Prof. Herre van der Zant. Upon completion of his doctorate, he moved to Santa Barbara to work with Prof. Andrea Young at UCSB. His research interests have been continually focused on nanotechnology and the phenomena that emerge as a result of electron confinement and interactions.
Randy Sterbentz – Graduate Student
Randy is a graduate student at UNLV pursuing a Master’s degree in Physics. He pursued an undergraduate degree at California Polytechnic State University (Cal Poly), majoring in Physics and minoring in both Mathematics and Music. During his time at Cal Poly, he worked on designing a system capable of various magneto- and thermoelectric measurements on a bulk sample at high temperatures. His interests have varied, from astronomic to subatomic, but he always strives to understand a topic at its most fundamental level. Through researching at UNLV, he looks to build upon his knowledge and explore the world of nanoscale physics.
Kayla Cerminara – Graduate Student
Kayla Cerminara is a graduate student at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. She received her bachelors in physics with a minor in mathematics from UNLV in the spring of 2020. During her undergraduate, she researched passivation techniques for Chromium Iodide. Currently, she is continuing research on magnetic materials in van der Waals heterostructures. Kayla’s love for physics stems from not only being able to analyze problems, but from the chance to be creative with the solutions. She is part of the Society of Physics Students and an ongoing member of the American Physical Society. In her free time, she enjoys anything to do with the outdoors.
George Foskaris – Graduate Student – shared with SalamatLab
George is a graduate student at the University of Nevada Las Vegas pursuing a Masters Degree in Physics. He received a Bachelors of Science in Applied Physics from UNLV in the spring of 2020. During his time as an undergraduate, he contributed to the Salamat Lab by installing and performing research on the reflectivity of liquid metals. As a student of physics, he has had a deep interest in optics and electricity & magnetism. More recently, he has become fascinated by topics in condensed matter physics that pertain to metals. He is currently seeking to explore and further understand the optical and transport methods that can quantify the changing metallic properties of samples in extreme conditions and is developing a background in 2D physics. Furthermore, George is driven to preserve mankind’s ability to understand the ways in which we have be able to communicate with the universe through physics and mathematics; he seeks to maintain the ability to educate coming generations on some of the developments that have led us to where we are now. Extracurricularly, he is a photographer as well as a musician.
Kristine Haley – Graduate Student
Kristine is an undergraduate at UNLV pursuing a bachelor’s degree in physics and has been with the Island lab group since October of 2019. During her time with the group, she built custom electronics and has contributed to exfoliation and manipulation techniques of two-dimensional van der Waals heterostructures. Currently, she is using a multiphysics software program to simulate ultra-fast pulses in on-chip waveguides. Kristine is fascinated by quantum phenomena and the interesting behavior of electrons that emerge. Additionally, she is President of the Society of Physics Students, has been an executive board member for the UNLV Scientista Foundation, and continues to be an advocate for women pursuing STEM careers. In her free time, Kristine enjoys reading thrillers and exploring the outdoors.
Raine Harris – Undergraduate Student
Raine is an undergraduate student at the University of Nevada Las Vegas perusing a degree in Physics. Raine joined the lab in October 2019 and since arriving has focused on the creation of a program in python that makes electric measurements over time using a custom electronics. This program assisted in experiments in the passivation of Chromium Iodide. Raine is a recipient of the UROP scholarship and is currently working on the creation of a van der Waals solar cell heterostructure utilizing GaSe and InSe to form a vertical p-n junction in order to increase the effectiveness of photovoltaic cells. In his free time, Raine likes to hike, spend time with friends, and play fighting games.
Jeffrey Cloninger – Undergraduate Student
Jeff is an undergraduate at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas campus, completing his degree in Applied Physics. Having previously worked in low temperature sample acquisition, Jeff is exploring new techniques and geometries for transport measurement apparati to probe various 2D systems in high pressure and low temperature environments. His interests include creative expressions such as leather and wood work, classic auto restoration, and tabletop gaming.
Jessica Farnsworth – Undergraduate Student
Jessica is an undergraduate student at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas working towards a degree in Applied Physics with a minor in Math. She attended the University of Nevada, Reno before being a student at UNLV and has received congressional academic honors during her time there. She is also a tutor in math and physics for TRiO at the UNLV campus and is a digital artist in her free time. Jessica plans to continue her education in graduate school to pursue astrophysics. 
Justin Alvarez – Undergraduate Student
Justin is an undergraduate at the University of Nevada Las Vegas working toward a degree in Physics with a minor in Mathematics. His future goal is to pursue a PhD in Quantum Physics and a career doing research. He is currently is the Vice President of UNLV Taekwondo Club. In his free time, he enjoys playing the guitar, reading, and playing video games with friends.
Zachary Thelen – Undergraduate Student
A transfer student pursuing an undergraduate degree at UNLV in physics. Zach previously worked on thin-film deposition and CO2 extraction processes. Zach is interested in solutions to energy storage and consumption. He is a former sous-chef in Japanese/French cuisine, and still enjoys cooking at home. In his free time he likes to explore via road trips and hiking.
Markiece Givens – Undergraduate Student
Markiece is a physics major with a double minor in computer science and mathematics. He is pursuing a bachelor’s degree in physics in order to eventually get a PhD in quantum mechanics. In his free time he goes to the gym or plays video games with friends.

Group Alumni

Daisy Lopez – Undergraduate Student
Daisy is an undergraduate at UNLV pursuing a degree in physics. She has worked on determining thermal conductivity and thermal resistivity measurements on bulk samples with Dr.Jason Baker and spent summer 2019 as an intern at OcuScience where she found her love for optics while building a Scanning Laser Ophthalmoscope; though recently she has found her interests lean more towards nanoscale physics. Outside of classes she volunteers at The Las Vegas Rescue Mission and participates in triathlons. She is currently training to participate in herfirst Ironman distance summer 2020.
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