Published: April 6, 2023

National Science Foundation logoThree students in materials science and engineering have earned National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowships for 2023, a recognition of their strong potential for outstanding research in graduate school and beyond.

The awards recognize outstanding graduate students from across the country in science, technology, engineering and mathematics fields.

The three winners in MSE are among 29 students from across the College of Engineering and Applied Science receiving the awards. Each recipient will receive coverage of tuition and fees, $37,000 annual stipend for the next three years, as well as professional development opportunities.

2023 Honorees from Materials Science and Engineering

Ben Hammel

2nd year PhD student

Advisor: Gordana Dukovic
Lab: Dukovic Research Group

I use scanning transmission electron microscopy to map the elemental composition and electronic structure of nanocrystals with nanometer resolution. This enables me to understand how the distribution of elements in nanocrystals influences properties such as band gap, with significant implications for catalytic and optoelectronic applications. Funding from the NSF GRFP will allow me to fully leverage CU Boulder's Facility for Electron Microscopy of Materials (FEMM), home to the highest-resolution electron microscope in Colorado. Support from the NSF will allow me to explore a broad range of materials, which I hope will reveal general design principles for compositionally-complex nanocrystals. One of my goals is to understand how we can design nanocrystals to achieve greater photocatalytic activity, which would help us leverage solar energy to produce sustainable fuels.

Kendra Kreienbrink

2nd year PhD student

Advisor: Wyatt Shields
Lab: Shields Lab

My research is focused on developing a new mechanism for designing dexterous microscale robots by leveraging the assembly of individual, simple to fabricate subunits. In particular, we are using external magnetic fields that interact with ferromagnetic patches deposited on polymeric subunits to guide the assembly and reconfiguration of these microrobots. Ultimately, the goal is to be able to predict and program microrobotic behaviors based on their subunit sequence.

Dylan Ladd

2nd Year PhD Student

Advisor: Michael Toney
Lab: Toney Group

I study structural dynamics and disorder in crystalline materials using x-ray scattering and spectroscopy. I'm focused on (and quite excited about) structure-property relationships in hybrid metal halide perovskites and colloidal III-V and II-VI nanocrystals as new materials for energy and optoelectronic applications.  This is a large collaborative and interdisciplinary effort in the NSF-funded IMOD Science and Technology Center, with the ultimate goal of designing next-generation solar cells, LED's, sensors, and quantum computing/communication technologies.