2019 Incoming Grad Series: Matthew Devlin

by Daina Tagavi, Professional Development Peer
Wednesday, September 18, 2019 8:00 AM

The 2019 Incoming Grad Series continues, featuring backstories and fun facts on 8 students who are part of our most diverse incoming class in recent memory.

Matthew Devlin is coming to UCSB from ​San Diego to pursue a Ph.D. in ​​​Mechanical Engineering ​​after completing his undergraduate degree ​at Georgia Institute of Technology. Matthew told us that he majored in biomedical engineering in undergrad, and is looking forward to trying something new at the ​Mechanical Engineering Department at UCSB!

Read on to learn more about ​Matthew's ​background, research interests, and his in-depth knowledge ​of mascara!


Matthew was originally born in the state of Kentucky where he lived with his family for 8 years. From there, ​he moved to Japan for 2 years, which he reported was an eye-opening experience. He went to public Japanese school, where he learned Japanese and made a ton of friends. Returning to the United States, he lived in San Diego for 10 years until he went to college on the East Coast. Getting a chance to live in so many different places really stuck with ​him, and it has made him more open minded and understanding of other people and cultures. At Georgia Tech, Matthew worked in ​the biomedical engineering machine shop and learned to create many things. Some of the devices he created have even been spun out into attempted startups. After undergrad, Matthew worked at the L'Oreál USA research headquarters in New Jersey for 2.5 years as a rapid prototyping expert. If anyone had a new idea in the company, he would be responsible for creating it as quickly as possible. Some of the highlights of this job were developing new techniques of studying mascara by using robotic product application and image processing. Now, he has decided to chase his robotic interests back to the West Coast at UCSB!


Matthew chose UCSB because of the outstanding faculty conducting research here. He said, "There is so much cutting-edge research going on that I cannot wait to be a part of." During the admit visit weekend, Matthew felt that all of the professors he met were "really collaborative and open," which he really appreciated. Matthew told us that he thinks that UCSB will have the best work/life balance for ​him and that he is excited for this new journey in Santa Barbara!


Matthew's research interests are at the intersection of people and robotics. In particular, he would like to focus on "robots, mechanisms, materials, etc. that can interact with people to make their day-to-day lives better." Matthew told us that part of his "problem" is that he finds everything fascinating, which is why his previous research experience has floated among protein surface chemistry, microfluidics, microparticles, soft robotics, and cosmetic chemistry. He is hoping to find some "focus" at UCSB with ​his research, while maintaining the ability to talk with and draw inspiration from so many other researchers about their work in their fields.



For fun, Matthew likes to hike, play volleyball, and make stuff! He is all about trying to make new things and ​has learned a variety of skills such as sewing, baking, and soldering. ​His most recent obsession is brewing kombucha!

Some fun facts about ​Matthew are that he has a twin brother who lives and works in Japan and speaks Japanese fluently. He has also analyzed thousands of pictures of different mascaras and eyelashes and used to be a bench chemist making foundation. Talk to him about makeup!

Matthew told us that he wants to run a triathlon within the next year, and he also wants to learn how to surf at UCSB. Matthew was most known at his last job for the sheer number of cookies he made throughout the year (and he loves to share)!

Welcome, ​Matthew!

Be sure to subscribe to the GradPost and check back each day until the start of classes for the continuation of our Incoming Grad Series. Up next is Tannishtha Bhattacharjee, an incoming ​​PhD student in the History Department from Delhi, India, who has a ton of fun facts to share!