Three materials science and engineering students have been awarded Graduate Research Fellowships by the National Science Foundation.
The Graduate Research Fellowship Program (GRFP) recognizes and supports exemplary graduate students in NSF-supported STEM disciplines who demonstrate excellence in their pursuit of research-based master’s and doctoral degrees. As NSF fellows, David Beaudry, Hao (Nick) Zhang and Siddharth Iyer will each receive annual stipends as well as opportunities for international research and professional development. To read more about the award and the other NSF GRFP awardees, click here.
David Beaudry is a first-year doctoral student from Fort Walton Beach, Florida studying under Professor Mitra Taheri. He graduated from the University of Florida with bachelor’s degrees in materials science and engineering, and physics. Beaudry was recognized by NSF for his research on improving corrosion and deformation behavior of refractory high entropy alloys for jet turbine applications. He credits his undergraduate research adviser Professor Gerhard Fuchs, his internship adviser Keith Knipling, and his current PhD adviser, Professor Mitra Taheri with inspiring him to pursue high-temperature metallurgy and advanced characterization techniques. He hopes to someday work at a Department of Defense lab solving defense-related physical metallurgy problems.
Hao (Nick) Zhang, originally from Los Angeles, California, is a first-year PhD student in Professor Shoji Hall’s lab. He was recognized by the NSF for his research on the effect of various molecular promoters on the electrocatalytic performance. The aim of the project is to investigate the electrolyte interface and reaction intermediates with a combination of in-situ/operando characterization techniques. The NSF GRFP fellowship will allow Zhang to expand the scope of his current research, which is focused on enabling researchers to produce storable and transportable fuels from sustainable inputs. Basic research knowledge gained from the project can also be used to enhance the performance of batteries, fuel cells, water electrolysis, and CO2 reduction to clean liquid fuels. Eventually, Zhang would like to work at the National Laboratory and as a mentor to K-12 and community college students. As a first-generation college student, he credits his many mentors throughout his academic journey—particularly his research mentors at his undergraduate university, UC Berkeley. Nick also credits his current colleagues in the Hall group, especially Professor Hall.
Originally from Freehold, New Jersey, Siddharth Iyer graduated with his bachelor’s degree in materials science and engineering (with a biomaterials concentration) in December of 2020. He will pursue his PhD in bioengineering at MIT this fall and is interested in creating new genetic engineering/biomaterials tools to manipulate cell behavior in multiplex in vivo. Iyer was awarded the fellowship for his proposal for a screening tool to study and manipulate brain aging in vivo using expansion sequencing and multiplexed Cre-dependent recombination. He plans to use the NSF fellowship to access new research opportunities. He credits his primary research adviser Professor Luo Gu with inspiring him to push through failures to achieve personal growth, and eventually, success. He also credits Richie Kohman, a member of the George Church Lab at Harvard’s Wyss Institute with helping him develop his proposal idea. Iyer says he is looking forward to the opportunity to meet other fellows and hear about their research and career paths – hopefully in person!