2024 National Defense Science and Engineering Graduate (NDSEG) Fellowship

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Gregory Gorobets

Former undergraduate researcher Gregory Gorobets ’23 (Spokoyny group) has been awarded the 2024 National Defense Science and Engineering Graduate (NDSEG) Fellowship, one of the country’s most prestigious honors for graduate students in the fields of Science Technology, Engineering and Mathematics or STEM.

Gorobets is among 165 students from across the country, and one of nine from UCLA, who were awarded the highly competitive fellowship this year. The fellowship pays for the awardees’ tuition and university fees for three years, a monthly stipend and available funds for research and travel expenses.

Gorobets received his bachelor’s degree in chemistry from UCLA College, where he worked as an undergraduate researcher in Professor Alexander Spokoyny’s group, focusing on synthesizing and characterizing boron clusters for energy applications. His efforts earned him a summer undergraduate laboratory internship from the Department of Energy (DOE), allowing him to spend a summer at Oak Ridge National Laboratory. During this internship, Gorobets played a crucial role in developing a membrane solvent extraction technique for separating and recovering critical materials from end-of-life lithium-ion batteries. He joined the University of Chicago’s graduate program in 2023, joining Professor Anna Wuttig’s group.

In the Wuttig Lab, Gorobets works on understanding interfacial structure and its effects on electroorganic reactivity and electrochemical processes.

“My research currently explores electrode modification through non-covalent strategies,” Gorobets said. “While the overarching goal is to enhance reactivity in electrochemical systems for potential energy storage applications, I am most excited about gaining a molecular-level understanding of what is happening at the interface. Understanding these interactions is key to tailoring reactivity more effectively and uncovering fundamental principles that can be applied to various chemical processes and systems. I aspire to use our findings to make significant contributions towards a more sustainable future.”

After earning his Ph.D., Gorobets dreams of becoming a professor, where he can mentor students and delve into exciting scientific discoveries.

Penny Jennings, UCLA Department of Chemistry & Biochemistry, penny@chem.ucla.edu.