NEWS: Three Oliners Receive NSF Graduate Research Fellowships

May 18, 2023

One senior and two Olin College alumni have won prestigious 2023 National Science Foundation (NSF) fellowships for graduate school.

A student in pink shirt and shorts walks into the Academic Center building with green tree branches encroaching into the frame.

A student walks into the Miller Academic Center (MAC) building in 2016. Photo by Leise Jones.

Braden Oh ’23 (Aeronautical and Aerospace Engineering), Emma Westerhoff ’20 (Electrical and Electronic Engineering) and Hwei-Shin Harriman ’22 (Human Computer Interaction) all received 2023 awards.

Olin has had a total of 62 NSF GRFP winners since the College’s first-ever class graduated in 2006.

The NSF Graduate Research Fellowship Program (GRFP) helps ensure the vitality of the human resource base of science and engineering in the United States and reinforces its diversity. The program recognizes and supports outstanding graduate students in NSF-supported science, technology, engineering, and mathematics disciplines who are pursuing research-based master’s and doctoral degrees at accredited United States institutions. The five-year fellowship includes three years of financial support including an annual stipend of $34,000 and a cost of education allowance of $12,000 to the institution.

“Congratulations to Braden, Emma and Hwei-Shin for this remarkable accomplishment,” said Kristin Casasanto, Olin’s Director of Post-Graduate Planning. “They are a great example of Oliners building on their engineering foundations to launch into a research path. We look forward to seeing what they accomplish in their graduate careers ahead!”

Braden Oh ’23 will pursue a Ph.D. in aerospace engineering at the University of Michigan, joining the Plasmadynamics and Electric Propulsion Lab (PEPL) to study under Professor Ben Jorns. “PEPL recently made a breakthrough in ion engine power throughput which is unlocking a new generation of high-power spacecraft ion engines,” said Oh. “These engines will support a human presence on the Moon, enable us to live and work in space, and allow us to send the first astronauts to Mars. I am thrilled to be a part of advancing human exploration!”

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Emma Westerhoff ’20 will head to CU Boulder this fall for a Ph.D. in Embedded Systems Engineering with Dr. Calvin Chan. “I'm excited to dive deeper into high-performance standalone sensor technologies in a variety of applications including cameras, IoT, and other novel sensors,” she said.

Hwei-Shin Harriman ’22 will attend Carnegie Mellon University to pursue a Ph.D. in software engineering with a focus on human-computer interaction. “My research will be centered around making tools for STEM educators to create interactive visual aids (such as interactive data visualizations or animated diagrams),” said Harriman. “I am excited to be collaborating with amazing professors and fellow students at CMU.”

Since 1952, NSF has funded over 60,000 Graduate Research Fellowships out of more than 500,000 applicants. Currently, 42 Fellows have gone on to become Nobel laureates, and more than 450 have become members of the National Academy of Sciences. In addition, the Graduate Research Fellowship Program has a high rate of doctorate degree completion, with more than 70 percent of students completing their doctorates within 11 years.