Dr. Ruel McKenzie is an assistant professor in the School of Polymer Science & Polymer Engineering at The University of Akron. His research is in the area of experimental soft matter physics and materials science. Prior to his move to Akron, Dr. McKenzie was a National Research Council post-doctoral fellow at the Air Force Research Laboratory and a postdoctoral researcher at the Foundation for Research and Technology-Hellas. He received his B.Sc. and Ph.D. degrees in chemical engineering from New York University and an M.Sc. degree in chemical engineering from Columbia University. Outside of teaching and research, Dr. McKenzie is very involved in outreach efforts that engage the local community in STEM activities. He especially targets and advocates for the inclusion of the K-12, special needs and minority communities to stimulate early interest and the broadening of participation in STEM fields.