Four Graduate Students Awarded the 2020 NSF Graduate Research Fellowship

Makana Castillo-Martin, Jason Fan, Nick Franzese and Lillian Huang received the 2020 National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowships
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Four graduate students from the department, Makana Castillo-Martin, Jason Fan, Nicholas Franzese and Lillian Huang were recently awarded the National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowships for 2020. The NSF fellowship program recognizes and supports outstanding graduate students in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics.

Makana Castillo-Martin

An undergraduate in  Mathematics and Computer Science from Reed College, Castillo-Martin is currently studying the user perceptions of fairness and privacy. She plans to work in academics to broaden engagement and participation in computer science among the underrepresented groups. 

Jason Fan

“If we know the effects of perturbing a set of genes in yeast, how might we do the same in mice”? questioned Fan. Currently working in computational biology, Fan wants to design methods to automatically exploit shared latent structure in biological data across different species, experiments, and phenomena. An undergraduate from Tufts University, Fan plans to further his research at the intersection of the biological and computational sciences.

Nick Franzese

Franzese an undergraduate in Computer Science and Biology from the Reed College is currently working on applying data-driven computational modeling to understand cancer. He plans to advance his research by aligning the powerful computational tools with biologically coherent goals. “It's important to approach problems as both a biologist and a computer scientist, rather than as one or the other, Otherwise, it can be difficult for computational work to impact the decisions being made in the wet lab” says Franzese.

Lillian Huang

Huang earned her bachelor’s degree in Physics and Computer Science from the University of Michigan. Huang’s area of research is computer vision and she is currently working on the problem of image recognition with a limited amount of labelled data. She plans to continue her research and soon publish her work.

All four awardees, Castillo-Martin, Fan, Franzese and Huang are close friends and worked together on the NSF fellowship application. “It is very gratifying to see that the process of working together on our applications, where we all holed up together and edited and revised each other's statements, yielded pretty good results”, says Huang.

All four awardees will receive three years of support, including a $34,000 annual stipend, a $12,000 cost-of-education allowance to the graduate degree-granting institution, international research and professional development opportunities, and access to a supercomputer.

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