Physics Major Earns NSF Graduate Research Fellowship

May 16, 2014
Communications Staff

Jocienne Nelson ’14 has received the prestigious National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship. A physics major with a math minor, Nelson has been accepted into Cornell University’s PhD program in physics.

Fellows in the NSF graduate research program receive three years of financial support, with an annual stipend of $32,000 and a $12,000 cost of education allowance to the graduate institution, as well as international research and professional development opportunities.

Nelson says she is broadly interested in the field of condensed matter experiment, which encompasses the study of the physics of materials. Her more narrow interests are the “physics of novel materials and thin film materials which exhibit interesting properties, such as high temperature superconductivity, that do not occur in the bulk versions of the same materials.”

She will begin work this summer in the lab of Kyle Shen at Cornell. “I’m very excited to be involved in building the unique experimental setups required to study these fascinating systems,” says Nelson, who is from Washington, D.C.

For the last two years, she has been working as a student researcher for Physics Professor Stephen FitzGerald. In his lab, Nelson has worked on several projects, including a yearlong honors project studying the overtone spectroscopy of hydrogen trapped in materials known as Metal-Organic Frameworks. She has been involved in multiple aspects of the experiments -- taking data, data analysis, and modeling.

“I feel lucky to have been so involved in research as an undergraduate, and I think the availability of these experiences is part of what makes Oberlin great. I’m very honored to receive the NSF Graduate Research Fellowship, and I’m excited about the freedom and opportunities it has opened up for me.”

Nelson says she intends to pursue a research career in the field of condensed matter physics, either as a professor at an academic institution or in the context of a national laboratory.

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