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ECSE student Vivian Zhou and recent alumnus Jonathan McCandless both win prestigious NSF Graduate Fellowship

The National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship is a well-known and competitive award for students pursuing graduate degrees in STEM fields. Since its creation in 1952, the fellowship has receive over a half million applications. This year, two current and former CWRU students have been granted this amazing opportunity! 

Vivian Zhou, BS/MS student who has been working in Prof. Philip Feng’s group in Electrical Engineering, has been selected to receive a 2019 National Science Foundation (NSF) Graduate Research Fellowship (GRF).  Vivian’s GRF research proposal is focused on exploring new frontiers of quantum engineering by studying single photon emitters in two-dimensional (2D) hexagonal boron nitride (h-BN) crystals with strain engineering on device platforms.  Vivian is finishing her BS/MS study at CWRU in May 2019, and will start pursuing her Ph.D. study in quantum science and engineering in one of the nation’s top programs this Fall.  Vivian has been pursuing BS/MS thesis research in Prof. Feng’s group since summer 2017, funded by NSF REU and EFRI-REM programs.  She interned with The Aerospace Corporation, El Segundo, CA, in summer 2018, and had a semester abroad at Yonsei University in Korea, in 2016.  Among many awards and honors, she won the First Place Award in oral presentations in Technology and Engineering areas at the 2018 Emerging Researchers National (ERN) Conference in STEM, for her research on studying SiC and diamond materials using optical spectroscopy techniques. 

[Left]  Vivian Zhou (right) with Dr. Laura Wang, Prof. Philip Feng in front of her posters presented at Frontiers of Nanomechanical Systems (FNS 2019, February 2019). 

[Right]  Jon McCandless with Prof. Philip Feng after lunch meeting before he was heading to Cornell (August 2017). 

Jonathan McCandless, BS’16 in Engineering Physics and EECS, has also been selected to receive a 2019 National Science Foundation (NSF) Graduate Research Fellowship (GRF).  Jon worked in Prof. Philip Feng’s group in Electrical Engineering from 2014 to 2016, focusing on 2D materials and devices, supported by a SOURCE Fellowship and NSF REU.  He worked as a Summer Research Fellow at AFRL in Dayton in the summer of 2015, doing microfabrication of SiC devices on an AFRL-CWRU joint project.  In 2016, he became the only undergraduate researcher (throughout recent years) to give an oral presentation at the prestigious biannual conference Hilton Head Workshop.  After graduation, he joined AFRL as an research engineer and worked on ultrawide bandgap Ga2O3 devices in the Sensors Directorate for over a year, before he took a first-year fellowship at Cornell to start pursuing his Ph.D. there in Fall 2017.  Jon’s GRF research proposal is focused on bold ideas of growing phase-pure, single-crystal Ga2O3 in a new crystalline phase, by using molecular beam epitaxy (MBE), and on investigating ferroelectricity and developing novel devices in this new phase of Ga2O3.