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Five MIT students win more than a quarter million dollars each through Hertz Fellowship

On April 17, the Fannie and John Hertz Foundation announced the fifteen 2014 Hertz Fellows in the applied physical, biological, and engineering sciences. Of the fifteen Hertz Fellowship recipients, five are MIT students: Ian McKay ’12, Elizabeth Y. Qian ’14, Andrew J. Rzeznik G, Katharine Schutz ’14, and Asmamaw T. Wassie G. The fifteen fellows were selected from a pool of nearly 800 applicants.

According to the press release, the fellowship is considered to be the nation’s most generous graduate support. Fellows are selected for their “intellect, their ingenuity and their potential to bring meaningful improvement to society.”

McKay is a chemical engineer whose work focuses on energy storage and electrocatalysis, while Qian is an aerospace engineer who studies engineering computation. She will be conducting research at RWTH Aachen in Germany before beginning her graduate studies at MIT.

Rzeznik is a PhD student in mathematics at MIT who focuses his research on mathematically modeling the troposphere by combining applied mathematics and fluid mechanics.

Schutz, who majored in physics, investigated cosmic inflation and dark matter phenomenology as an undergraduate at MIT. Wassie majored in biological engineering as an undergraduate and has worked on helping create new technologies for controlling and analyzing brain activity.

Each Hertz Fellow is awarded a stipend and full tuition support for up to five years of graduate study. According to a press release, the Fellowship will give each recipient complete financial independence to pursue their individual scientific work or research.

—Patricia Z. Dominguez