Norfolk State Program Uses Center

Norfolk State University, one of four schools renting space in the Applied Research Center, has used its relationships with two federal agencies on the Peninsula to create a graduate program.

Like the other schools in the ARC, Norfolk State will use its proximity to Jefferson Lab's powerful free-electron laser to create and test materials. Meanwhile, over in Norfolk, the university recently opened its own $2.3 million materials-research lab building. The school says it contains the East Coast's best-equipped laser laboratory.

The program got its start when Norfolk State began doing materials research in conjunction with the NASA Langley Research Center in Hampton, said Heidi Ries, director for the university's Center for Materials Research. A grant from NASA Langley led to the formation of the graduate program, which enrolled its first seven students in 1994, Ries said.

The master's of materials science program now has about 10 students, Ries said. One student has completed the program, and three more are expected to graduate this year, she said.

The development of the free-electron laser at Jefferson Lab has allowed the school to broaden its materials work, Ries said.

"Jefferson Lab and NASA Langley both have allowed us to build a very strong research program," she said.