Three ECE students — seniors Nicole Meister and Linda Pucurimay and second-year graduate student Sophia Yoo — have won graduate research fellowships from the National Science Foundation. Each fellowship comes with five years of professional development support and three years of funding, including an annual $34,000 stipend and $12,000 cost of education allowance.
Meister will work on building fair and robust AI systems at Stanford University, where she will pursue a Ph.D. Meister sees machine learning bias as a problem that will grow with increased use, especially as such models are deployed for increasingly high-stakes applications. Her graduate work will build on her senior thesis research, which looked at gender with respect to computer vision and computer decision making. Her thesis was advised by Olga Russakovsky, assistant professor of computer science.
Pucurimay will pursue a Ph.D. in materials science and engineering at Stanford University, where she will develop materials that advance clean energy and climate-change mitigation. Her senior thesis also focused on energy materials and was advised by Antoine Kahn, the Stephen C. Macaleer ’63 Professor in Engineering and Applied Science.
Yoo works to make networks on which modern communication systems are built more reliable and more secure. She came to Princeton in 2020 and last year joined the lab of Jennifer Rexford, Gordon Y.S. Wu Professor of Engineering and chair of the Department of Computer Science, where she works at the intersection of software-defined networks and network security. Recently, she has been developing new security functions that protect against the growing problem of distributed denial-of-service attacks. In 2020, there were roughly 17 million such events, including major attacks on Google and Amazon Web Services that severely impaired global communications. Yoo earned her bachelor’s degree in electrical and computer engineering from Temple University, where she minored in computer science and music.
The NSF’s Graduate Research Fellowship Program issued its first awards in 1952 and has since funded more than 60,000 graduate student researchers, including 42 future-laureates of the Nobel Prize. It is the oldest fellowship of its kind in the United States. This year, the program offered around 2,200 fellowships to students from nearly 300 colleges and universities.