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 May 1, 2013

Erik Garcell Wins IGERT Fellowship

Erik GarcellErik Garcell has won an IGERT Fellowship. Erik is completing is first year as a graduate student in the Physics and Astronomy Department. He received his bachelors degree from the University of Florida in Gainseville. Erik has also been honored as a University of Rochester Provost Fellow. Erik will be a research assistant with Professor Chunlei Guo of the Institute of Optics starting in the Summer of 2013.

The Integrative Graduate Education and Research Training (IGERT) award supports the development of a multidisciplinary graduate training program focused on distributed renewable energy sources from the sun. Research will be focused in the areas of inexpensive and environmentally benign photovoltaic materials, efficient sunlight capture using nanotechnology and advanced optical design, hydrogen generation using artificial photosynthesis, and improved fuel cells using hydrogen-based fuels. Research will also explore the changes in economic and business models necessitated by distributed energy sources and what motivates the adoption of renewable energy to facilitate its adoption in the marketplace. The education and training plans include teaching and fieldwork at partner African universities, internships in U.S. or European institutions, and a new curriculum that includes entrepreneurship and social sciences, and makes students effective communicators.

The program will produce scientific leaders and entrepreneurs trained in the field of renewable energy who are ready to initiate major advances leading to sustainable development and global prosperity, while protecting the environment. Significant activities include teaching and fieldwork in African universities and involvement of inner city high schools and the local community. The societal impact of the proposed effort will be used to foster the recruitment of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics students from under-represented groups.

IGERT is an NSF-wide program intended to meet the challenges of educating U.S. Ph.D. scientists and engineers with the interdisciplinary background, deep knowledge in a chose discipline, and the technical, professional, and personal skills needed for the career demands fo the future. The program is intended to catalyze a cultural change in graduate education by establishing innovative new models for graduate education and training in a fertile environment for collaborative research that transcends traditional disciplinary boundaries.