Twenty-one students and alumni of Columbia Engineering have won graduate research fellowships from the National Science Foundation. These fellowships represent some of the nation’s most prestigious honors for young engineers and scientists, and this year’s group represents one of the largest cohorts from the school.
Fellows, who the NSF expects to “become knowledge experts who can contribute significantly to research, teaching, and innovations in science and engineering,” receive three-year annual stipends of $34,000 as well as $12,000 educational allowances to pursue graduate-level degrees and research. Among just 2,076 awardees selected from more than 13,000 applicants, their research interests span quantum computing to solar energy. Three more alums earned an honorable mention.
The honorees will begin their fellowships this fall, circumstances permitting.
GRADUATE RESEARCH FELLOWS: CURRENT STUDENTS
ADINA BECHHOFER ’20
Currently studying electrical engineering, Adina Bechhofer works with Professor James Teherani modeling electrostatic properties and scattering in two-dimensional semiconductors. She plans to pursue a PhD focusing on optimization and machine learning methods for nano optoelectronic devices.
AMAR BHARDWAJ ’20
Previously a recipient of the prestigious Goldwater, Marshall, and Udall scholarships, chemical engineer Amar Bhardwaj has worked with Professors Daniel Esposito and Ngai Yin Yip on producing emissions-free hydrogen directly from seawater. After two years studying sustainable energy and solar fuels in the UK, he will begin a chemical engineering PhD researching more effective delivery of solar energy to market.
JESSICA HUYNH ’20
Currently studying computer science, Jessica Huynh focuses her research on affective computing for dialogue systems to both identify human emotion through speech and text and respond to those emotions more intelligently. The fellowship will enable her to continue her work exploring human communication.
ALYSSA HWANG ’20
A computer science major, senior Alyssa Hwang has worked with Professor Kathleen McKeown on utilizing natural language processing to understand slang and non-standard English dialects on social media. She will pursue a PhD in computer science this fall.
PATRICIA JASTRZEBSKA-PERFECT ’20
An electrical engineer, Patricia Jastrzebska-Perfect has worked in Professor Dion Khodagholy’s Translational Neuroelectronics Lab on designing new organic materials and devices for bioelectronics. She will begin her PhD this fall at MIT, where she will continue working at the convergence of electrical engineering and biology.
LEON KIM ’20
Mechanical engineer Leon Kim is interested in increasing capabilities for contact-rich autonomous systems through the development of novel control, planning, and learning algorithms. During his time at Columbia, he has conducted research between Professor Matei Ciocarlie’s Robotics Manipulation and Mobility Lab and Professor Shuran Song’s lab focusing on machine learning for robotic manipulators.
AMANDA LIU ’20
Computer scientist and mathematician Amanda Liu is interested in leveraging the powerful logical constructs that programming languages provide to build and verify secure software. The fellowship will support her research into a novel approach to systems that need to be both secure and resource-efficient.
WILLIAM MENG ’20
Currently studying electrical engineering, William Meng has worked in Professor Ken Shepard’s Bioelectronic Systems Lab and in Professor Hod Lipson’s Creative Machines Lab. He plans to spend his fellowship conducting research on integrated bioelectronic systems and neural interfaces.
VERONICA OVER ’18 MS’20
A mechanical engineer interested in making structural 3D-printed parts more standard in manufacturing, Veronica Over is pursuing her PhD in Professor Y. Lawrence Yao’s Advanced Manufacturing Lab. She plans to study a technique known as laser shock peening that promises to improve parts’ strength and quality.
ABHISHEK SHAH ’19
A computer scientist pursuing graduate research with Professors Simha Sethumadhavan and Suman Jana, Abhishek Shah calls himself an “exterminator” of bugs in computer software. The fellowship will support his work on a new bug-finding technique utilizating deep learning and optimization.