April 19, 2022
Seven Physical Sciences Division graduate students have been awarded 2022 National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowships:
- Hope Anderson, Life Sciences - Systems and Molecular Biology
- Caitlin Bellora, Chemistry - Physical Chemistry
- Alice Burington-Luna, Physics and Astronomy - Astronomy and Astrophysics
- Adela DePavia, Comp/IS/Eng - Algorithms and Theoretical Foundations
- Connie Miao, Physics and Astronomy - Quantum Information Science
- Riley Sinnott, Chemistry - Chemistry of Life Processes
- Olivia Wedig, Chemistry - Chemical Structure, Dynamics, and Mechanism
Honorable mentions were awarded to:
- Shannon Lu, Chemistry - Chemistry of Life Processes
- Giorgio Sarro, Geosciences - Climate and Large-Scale Atmospheric Dynamics
- Jisoo Woo, Chemistry - Chemical Synthesis
- Melissa Wood, Geosciences - Paleontology and Paleobiology
The following UChicago College students also received fellowships:
- Nicholas Corso, Physics and Astronomy - Astronomy and Astrophysics
- Emanuel Green, Physics and Astronomy - Quantum Information Science
- Alexandra Hinkle, Chemistry - Macromolecular, Supramolecular, and Nanochemistry
- Viraj Manwadkar, Physics and Astronomy - Astronomy and Astrophysics
- Olivia Morales, Chemistry - Chemical Synthesis
- Omar Salinas, Chemistry - Chemical Synthesis
- Jared Siegel, Mathematical Sciences - Topology
- Margot Young, Physics and Astronomy - Condensed Matter Physics
Each fellowship provides three years of support during a five-year fellowship period. For each of the three years of support, NSF provides a $34,000 stipend and $12,000 cost of education allowance to the University.
The program recognizes and supports outstanding graduate students in NSF-supported science, technology, engineering, and mathematics disciplines who are pursuing research-based master's and doctoral degrees at accredited United States institutions. It is the oldest graduate fellowship of its kind and has funded more than 60,000 graduate researchers since 1952, with 42 fellows going on to become Nobel laureates and 450 becoming members of the National Academy of Sciences.
Congratulations to these outstanding members of the Division for receiving this honor.
Meet the new PSD fellows
Hope Anderson is a second-year biophysical sciences PhD student co-advised by Samantha Riesenfeld and Bana Jabri. Her research interests lie in understanding how genetic mechanisms influence cell fate in the context of immune cell maturation and autoimmunity. Specifically, Anderson's fellowship is focused on developing and applying machine learning methods to better understand the transcriptional profiles of cells committing to lineages often associated with allergy and asthma.
Alice Burington-Luna is a first-year PhD student in the Department of Astronomy and Astrophysics. She is working in the Near Field Cosmology group led by Assistant Professor Alexander Ji. This fellowship will support the study of star formation histories of ultra-faint dwarf galaxies (UFDs). It is believed that the star formation of UFDs was quenched during the epoch of reionization. Therefore, UFDs provide archaeological access to the first stars and galaxies in the early universe. She is interested in studying the formation and evolution of the Milky Way Galaxy and its satellites.
Adela DePavia is a second-year PhD student in the Computational & Applied Math program. The NSF fellowship supports her research in theoretical computer science, particularly foundations of first-order convex optimization algorithms: first-order methods are widely used in practice due to the fact that they scale well to large problems, and many different varieties of these optimization algorithms have been proposed. Working with Assistant Professor Lorenzo Orecchia, Adela seeks to develop theoretical frameworks that allow for better understanding and comparison these methods, with the goal of generating insights for future algorithm development. Her broader research interests include: spectral graph theory, connections between discrete- and continuous-problems, and mathematical foundations of data science.
Connie Miao is a first-year PhD student in the Department of Physics. She is a member of Professor David Schuster's research lab and is interested in exploring the intersection between hard condensed matter physics and quantum information applications. The fellowship will help fund research into using superconducting qubits to realize the first quantum random access memory (QRAM), which is a crucial component for implementing many proposed high-impact quantum computing algorithms.
Riley Sinnott is a second-year Chemistry PhD student in the research group of Associate Professor Bryan Dickinson. The fellowship will support the development and study of programmable human protein chimeras with the ability to affect protein expression from mRNA in a predictable manner. The Dickinson group is interested in using this technology to correct disease states caused by protein over or underexpression.
Olivia Wedig is a first-year PhD student in the Department of Chemistry. She is a member of the research group of Professor Greg Engel. She is interested in combining theoretical modeling with the techniques of two-dimensional electronic spectroscopy to investigate the dynamics of energy transfer in photosynthesis. Ultimately, understanding how photosynthetic complexes control energy transfer will lead to new innovations in artificial light-harvesting technologies.
Photo and bio for Caitlin Bellora forthcoming