NSF and NASA Graduate Research Fellowship Winners Represent Columbia Electrical Engineering

Rosa Fernández
October 29, 2018

Columbia University’s Electrical Engineering Department is proud to share that current PhD student Stuart Daudlin, as well as alumni Julia Di and Sarah Thompson were awarded prestigious graduate fellowships from the National Science Foundation (NSF) and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA).

Selected from a competitive pool of candidates nationwide, Daudlin, Di, and Thompson each received funding to pursue graduate research leading to a doctoral degree in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) fields. Both NSF’s and NASA’s programs have longstanding histories of advancing science and engineering innovation. Both organizations aim to increase diversity in the STEM fields and provide unique opportunities for early career scientists and engineers.

Stuart Daudlin

Stuart Daudlin is a first-year PhD student at Columbia Electrical Engineering. As an NSF fellow, Daudlin is conducting research on silicon photonic systems for next generation computing in the Lightwave Research Laboratory under Professor Keren Bergman.

Previously in 2018, Daudlin obtained an undergraduate degree from the University of Michigan’s College of Engineering, where he majored in Engineering Physics and minored in Mathematics. As an undergraduate, he also implemented STEM education and engineering outreach projects in Guatemala, Ecuador, and Peru.

Daudlin says, “I am looking forward to working with the very best in silicon photonics at Columbia!”

Julia Di

Julia Di is a first-year PhD student in mechanical engineering, studying robotics at Stanford University. As a NASA fellow, her research focuses on building robots with novel flexible electronics as part of their mechanical structure.

Di graduated from Columbia University in 2018 with a BS degree in electrical engineering. As an undergraduate student, Di co-founded the Columbia Space Initiative (CSI)—which has entered and won multiple NASA design challenges—and she has presented throughout New York City and taught K-12 students about aerospace engineering. She also won an NSF graduate research fellowship in 2018, and has interned at Lockheed Martin Space Systems, NASA Marshall Spaceflight Center, Carleton Laboratory, and Generation Orbit.

“I loved my time at Columbia, and I wouldn't have been where I am today without the nurturing of the Electrical Engineering Department,” says Di.

Sarah Thompson

Sarah Thompson is currently at the University of Pennsylvania as a first-year PhD student working at the Cherie R. Kagan Research Group and Lee Bassett’s Quantum Engineering Laboratory. As an NSF fellow, she is researching multifunctional nanomaterials for quantum control and energy applications.

Thompson graduated from Columbia University in 2018 with a BS degree in electrical engineering. Her undergraduate research with the Columbia Lab for Unconventional Electronics focused on thin-film, organic optoelectronics for flexible sensing, and solar energy harvesting. While at Columbia, she was also involved with planning the IEEE chapter's annual hardware hackathon and programming for WKCR-FM.

Electrical engineering professor John Kymissis says, “I have known Sarah since she started at Columbia and have always been impressed with her technical depth, enthusiasm, and interest in research. We are very proud of her and this well-deserved honor!”

Congratulations and best of luck to our outstanding students and alumni!