Two students from the UCLA Samueli School of Engineering have received the 2022 National Defense Science and Engineering Graduate (NDSEG) Fellowshipone of the country most prestigious honors for graduate students in the fields of Science Technology, Engineering and Mathematics or STEM.
Lindsey Parsons and Madeline Taylor were among 165 students from across the country, and two of three from UCLA, who were awarded the highly competitive fellowship this year. The fellowship pays for the awardees’ tuition and university fees for three years, along with a monthly stipend and available funds for research and travel expenses,
Parsons is a chemical engineering graduate student. Her research interests include the study of nanophotonics and optoelectronics, and perovskite materials in particular, for use in solar energy. She said she developed an interest in nanoscience because it has several applications and implications for future scientific developments, especially in the field of renewable energy.
A graduate of Auburn University, Parsons said she was drawn to UCLA by her now advisor Carissa Eisler’s lab, which focuses on sustainability and nanotechnology and emphasizes an enthusiastic approach to research. Notably, Eisler, who is an assistant professor of chemical and biomolecular engineering, was herself an NDSEG Fellow in 2011. Parsons said her future plans are to become a professor in chemical engineering and to continue encouraging inclusivity, particularly in the fields of STEM. The NDSEG fellowship will help her begin taking those strides at UCLA. Parsons was also awarded a National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship for 2022, which will decline in favor of the NDSEG fellowship.
Taylor recently graduated in June with a bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering and will continue her graduate studies at UCLA. Her research interests include quantum science and engineering. She is focused on the quantum mechanics of open systems and on improving superconducting qubits – the foundational units of quantum computers – to advance various quantum systems. She is advised by Chee Wei Wong, a professor of electrical and computer engineering, who leads the Mesoscopic Optics and Quantum Electronics Laboratory and holds the Carol and Lawrence E. Tannas, Jr. Endowed Term Chair in Engineering.
Inspired by a photonics class taught by Wong, Taylor decided to join his lab as an undergraduate researcher. She cites the opportunity to continue research with Wong as a driving force behind her decision to pursue a doctorate at UCLA. Taylor has also been awarded a Eugene V. Cota-Robles Fellowship from UCLA, which targets applicants from backgrounds underrepresented in graduate education. The Cota-Robles fellowship, following the three-year NDSEG funding, will help support Taylor’s fourth year of graduate study and cover tuition, fees and a yearly stipend. Taylor said that support from both fellowships will allow her to focus on her goals.
Parsons and Taylor join one other UCLA student – Pamala Dayley – who has received a 2022 NDSEG fellowship award. Dayley is a graduate psychology student advised by Kerri Johnson, a professor of communications and psychology and the chair of the Communications Department.
Dannela Lagrimas contributed to this story.