Five Samueli School Students Awarded NSF Graduate Research Fellowships

Two current students and three former undergraduates receive accolades

The Henry Samueli School of Engineering is pleased to recognize two current and three former students who have been awarded National Science Foundation (NSF) Graduate Research Fellowships in recognition of their outstanding research and academic accomplishments.

Brian Tarroja, a second-year student in mechanical and aerospace engineering under the guidance of Professor Scott Samuelsen, Ph.D., is developing strategies for the reliable integration of large-scale intermittent renewable energy sources onto the electrical grid. Tarroja’s research in Samuelsen’s Advanced Power and Energy Program (APEP) focuses on characterizing the short and long timescale variability of wind and solar power, the sensitivities of such variability patterns to different factors, and their effect on the balancing of electrical loads and operation of certain aspects of the electrical grid.

Jason Tolentino, a second-year Ph.D. student in materials science and engineering under the guidance of Assistant Professor Matt Law Ph.D., is researching colloidal semiconductor nanocrystals (NC solids) due to their strong emergence as a new class of granular electronic materials. Tolentino wants to determine methods for creating well-coupled, geometrically ordered, and robust lead chalcogenide (e.g. PbX = PbSe) films with high carrier mobilities, long carrier lifetimes, and long diffusion lengths needed for next-generation optoelectronic devices, especially for solar cells. Achieving this goal will require a deep understanding of charge transport in NC materials, which in principle depends on NC composition, size, shape, monodispersity, capping ligand, surface chemistry, and degree of superlattice order.

Satoru Emori, who earned a B.S. degree in materials science engineering from UC Irvine, is currently a third-year Ph.D. student at MIT, and was mentored in undergraduate research by Assistant Professor Regina Ragan, Ph.D., while at UC Irvine.

Ricardo Komai, who received a B.S. degree in materials science engineering from UC Irvine, is currently a first-year graduate student at Northwestern University. He was mentored in his undergraduate research by Professor Farghalli Mohamed, Ph.D.

Katie Pickrhan, who earned a B.S. degree in chemical engineering from UC Irvine, is currently a second-year Ph.D. student at Stanford University, and was mentored in her undergraduate research by Assistant Professor Ali Mohraz, Ph.D., at UC Irvine.