Three Fords Earn NSF Graduate Research Fellowship Awards
Chloe Lindeman '17, Henri Drake '15, and Katie Elbert '14 all received fellowships that will support their graduate education and research.
Three Haverford alumni—including one brand new graduate from the Class of 2017—were recently honored with awards from the National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship Program (GRFP), which recognizes and supports graduate students who are pursuing research-based master’s and doctoral degrees in the science, technology, engineering, and math fields. The oldest graduate fellowship of its kind, the GRFP provides a three-year annual stipend of $34,000 and a $12,000 cost-of-education allowance for tuition and fees, as well as opportunities for international research and professional career development.
Chloe Lindeman '17, a recent physics major who minored in math, music, and Chinese, is headed to the University of Chicago this summer, where she will work towards her physics Ph.D. She plans to join Professor Sidney Nagel's soft condensed matter research group in July and will begin classes in September.
"While at Haverford, I was able to try out several different areas of physics while also exploring other non-STEM fields," says Lindeman. "My detours into particle physics; biophysics; atomic, molecular, and optical physics; and atmospheric sciences helped me learn what aspects of research I enjoy and how I work best. My experiences at Haverford also helped me decide to attend UChicago, where the soft matter department is extremely collaborative and quite close knit [because] the environment there seemed most like that at Haverford."
Former Haverford math major Henri Drake '15 is currently pursuing his Ph.D. in physical oceanography via the joint program at MIT and Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution. Drake, who says he owes his passion for oceanography entirely to Haverford Associate Chemistry Professor Helen White's introductory course, is interested in understanding the role of the oceans in the climate system to further improve predictions of climate change, and plans to use his fellowship to develop and test new models of deep ocean circulation—his specific area of research.
"My experience at Haverford was most influenced by the abundance and diversity of undergraduate research opportunities," he says. "During my time at Haverford, I worked on four separate independent research projects in sensors engineering, quantum computing, topological knot theory, and my senior thesis on the algebraic geometry of phylogenetic trees. This abundance of research experience has let me hit the ground running on my NSF fellowship research."
Katie Elbert '14 majored in chemistry at Haverford and now, after spending a year as a researcher at Los Alamos National Laboratory, she continues her studies in that field at the University of Pennsylvania, where she is pursuing her Ph.D. Her research is focused on synthesizing novel ligands—that is, molecules that bind to central metal atoms—to be placed on the surface of various types of nanoparticles.
"Haverford taught me how to be an interdisciplinary researcher, which is vital to my current research, as it combines many different disciplines of chemistry, such as organic synthesis, nanoparticle synthesis and characterization, as well as microscopy and other analytical tools," says Elbert. "Both in class and research at Haverford, we were always encouraged to think outside of the box and push boundaries, and I think those experiences have greatly influenced my research in graduate school."
In addition to the three fellowship recipients, six other young alumni were recognized with honorable mentions from the NSF GRFP: Matthew Abruzzo '17, Alexandra Cauer '12, Rebecca Kazinka '12, Shelby Lyons '15, Sara Sohail '13, and Malia Wenny '17.