NSF Mathematical and Physical Sciences Ascending Postdoctoral Research Fellowship

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Shreya Patel

Graduating doctoral student Shreya Patel (Tolbert group) has been awarded an NSF Mathematical and Physical Sciences Ascending Postdoctoral Research Fellowship (MPS-Ascend) to support her work on nanoscale optical materials at Northwestern University.

The purpose of the MPS-Ascend program is to support postdoctoral Fellows who will broaden the participation of members of groups that are historically excluded and currently underrepresented in MPS fields in the U.S. The program is intended to recognize beginning investigators of significant potential and provide them with experience in research that will broaden perspectives, facilitate interdisciplinary interactions, and help broaden participation within MPS fields. The program funds postdoctoral Fellows in research environments that will have maximal impact on their future scientific development and facilitates their transition into a faculty appointment.

In addition to this award, Patel was awarded a Northwestern internal postdoc fellowship, titled the “international institute of nanotechnology (IIN) postdoctoral research fellowship”.  According to the program website, this prestigious award supports brilliant young scientists and engineers from institutions around the country as they conduct independent research under the mentorship of world-class nanoscience and nanotechnology researchers at the IIN. Due to the interdisciplinary nature of the field, IIN Postdoctoral Fellows are afforded the opportunity to work across traditional departmental boundaries.

Patel received her bachelor’s degree in chemistry at Southern Methodist University where she worked with Professor Alexander Lippert studying organic chromophores for three-dimensional displays.  She joined the UCLA Chemistry & Biochemistry chemistry graduate program in Summer 2017, working with Professor Sarah Tolbert studying magnetic and multiferroic materials.  At Northwestern University, she is working in the group of Professor Teri Odom studying nanoscale optical materials.

In the Tolbert group, Patel co-authored seven papers, four as first co-author. She volunteered with the educational outreach program at the UCLA California NanoSystems Institute (CNSI), where she facilitated educational events for K–12 students and professional development workshops for teachers. In addition to her work with CNSI, she has also mentored high school and undergraduate students in research and helped develop a high-school level course on electricity and magnetism as a part of the NSF Engineering Research Center (ERC) for Translational Applications of Nanoscale Multiferroic Systems (TANMS).

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