Michel Vargas, PhD

Ecuador | Fulbright S&T awardee 2010 | Virginia State University | Materials Science and Engineering


Michel Vargas is an assistant professor in the Mechanical Engineering Department at Universidad San Francisco de Quito –USFQ-. His research interests are in materials development and materials characterization using analytical electron microscopy techniques.

Michel received an Engineer Diploma (Honors) in Mechanical Engineering from Escuela Politécnica Nacional –EPN- in 2007 (Quito, Ecuador). He was designated the EPN Valedictorian for being the top undergraduate student in the College of Engineering. He received a Masters and Ph.D. degree in Materials Science and Engineering, as well as a “Future Professoriate” graduate certificate from Virginia Tech (USA).

Before starting at his current position at USFQ, Michel worked in the Nanoscale Characterization and Fabrication Laboratory –NCFL- at Virginia Tech. He has more than 4 years of experience in characterization of inorganic materials focusing on metal powders; and, naturally and synthetically-produced metal oxides (especially manganese) occurring while removing dissolved metals from drinking water by rapid filtration. Experienced in analytical electron microscopy techniques (transmission and scanning microscopy with energy-dispersive spectroscopy capabilities), powder X-ray diffraction, atomic force microscopy, optical microscopy, and dynamic light scattering.

Michel worked for five years in the automotive industry, holding positions as Process Engineer, Technical Manager, and General Assembly Superintendent. He has experience in industrial management, redesigning production plant layouts, developing potential cost reduction plans, enhancing product quality, applying LEAN manufacturing concepts and practices, improving materials flow and processes, handling systems, and inventory control; reducing/controlling risks through analysis and improvement of human factors and ergonomics, upgrading work environment; monitoring, revising, and updating the business plan of the production team, setting goals and strategies to improve production performance, administering annual budgets (more than $100k); developing, leading and coaching the production team (135 members including 5 supervisors).

Michel is the first and only Ecuadorian fellow in the International Fulbright Science and Technology Award, as well as the first Ecuadorian fellow in the VT Global Perspectives program.



PhD (2015, Materials Science and Engineering) Virginia State University,  USA
ME (2015, Materials Science and Engineering) Virginia State University, USA
BE (2007, Mechanical Engineering) Escuela Politécnica Nacional, Ecuador