back to news May 29, 2019

14 Arts and Sciences graduate students named Presidential Fellows

Fourteen graduate students in the College of Arts and Sciences have received a Spring 2019 Presidential Fellowship, the most prestigious award given by the Graduate School at Ohio State. Awarded each semester to graduate students of outstanding scholarship, the Presidential Fellowship grants fellows one year of full-time financial support in their final year of dissertation work.

Fellows are nominated by graduate studies committee chairs and selected through a university-wide competition led by a faculty committee. A total of 21 fellows were selected for spring 2019. Those in the Arts and Sciences include:

Somnath Biswas, Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry

L. Robert Baker, advisor
Biswas’s research addresses challenges of converting and storing solar energy. Specifically, his work focuses on watching electrons move in solar materials to better understand the material chemistry that controls energy-conversion efficiency.

Brittney Carter, Department of Speech and Hearing Science

Eric Healy, advisor
Carter is studying how aging and hearing loss interact with different types of background noise to impact speech understanding and cognitive burden. Her work will inform future hearing aid and cochlear implant technologies, as well as clinical rehabilitation strategies.

Shi Che, Department of Physics

ChunNing (Jeannie) Lau, advisor
Che is investigating electronic states in cutting-edge 2D materials, which will shed light on mysteries surrounding high-temperature superconductivity and have potential implications for quantum information processing.

Samantha Dodbele, Biochemistry Program

Jane E. Jackman, advisor
Dodbele’s dissertation seeks to overturn a longstanding paradigm in biology by demonstrating a new mechanism for repairing RNA molecules that are critical for life. Specifically, she is investigating the role of an enzyme called DdiTLP4 in small non-coding RNA processing.

Alexander Erdmann, Department of Linguistics

Brian Joseph, advisor
Erdmann is working on a model to improve Arabic-English machine translation for colloquial Arabic dialects. His new model addresses challenges such as data sparsity and unstandardized or ambiguous spelling, and will help inform translation methods for languages beyond Arabic.  

Linda Huang, Department of History of Art

Julia Andrews, advisor
Huang’s research is some of the first to address the impact of technology on art and humanity in post-Mao China. She is specifically examining how contemporary Chinese media art has explored new fantasies about information, as well as anxieties about state control and social engineering.

Lifeng Jin, Department of Linguistics

William Schuler, advisor
Jin is building a series of computational models to address a “nature versus nurture” debate in linguistics regarding the human ability to learn syntax. These models can also serve as research and development tools for languages with limited data availability.

Deon Knights, School of Earth Sciences

Audrey Sawyer, advisor
Knight is analyzing the flux and flow of nutrients to the U.S. Great Lakes coastline, shedding light on areas vulnerable to groundwater-sourced nutrient contamination and improving estimates of nitrogen flow to coastal waters. The results of this work will help guide environmental management policy.

Carolin Mueller, Department of Germanic Languages and Literatures

John E. Davidson, advisor
Mueller’s research centers on musical activism, citizenship and socio-political engagement in Dresden, Germany. She specifically looks at a musician collective called Banda Internationale, which in recent years expanded to include refugee performers amid anti-immigration campaigns and party tensions.

James Price, School of Earth Sciences

Andrea Grottoli, advisor
Price is studying the roles that diet and microbial communities play in the resilience of corals to changing ocean conditions. He will investigate these characteristics in corals surrounding Oahu, Hawaii, in relation to predicted increases in seawater temperature and acidity.

Gregory Smith, Department of Political Science

Christopher Gelpi, advisor
Smith is measuring how the effectiveness of foreign policy tools — particularly those designed to coerce or compel — changes over time as target countries adapt and/or change their behavior, challenging longstanding assumptions about the use of force and coercive policies.

Suk Sien Tie, Department of Astronomy

Paul Martini, advisor
Tie’s thesis centers on the intergalactic medium (IGM), which permeates the space between galaxies, improving its use as a cosmological tool to better understand matter clustering and physics in the early universe. She is developing tools to interpret IGM data from the Dark Energy Spectroscopic Instrument survey, which will yield one of the largest and deepest 3D maps of the universe.  

Archana Venkatesh, Department of History

Mytheli Sreenivas, advisor
Venkatesh’s dissertation examines the history of Indian women medical practitioners and their role in development and nation-building in 20th century India. Her project is the first comprehensive study of how these women changed the landscape of public health, reproductive politics and maternal and child welfare.

Xun (Jerry) Zou, Department of Geography

David Bromwich, advisor
Zou is creating simulations to quantify major causes of surface melting on the Ross Ice Shelf, Antarctica’s largest ice shelf. She will then apply this knowledge to predict future changes in ice loss, which is critical information for reducing uncertainty in projections of global sea-level rise.