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Dustin Gerrard (L) and Clif Mortensen
Dustin Gerrard and Clif Mortensen, both graduates of BYU’s ME program, have been awarded the prestigious United States Department of Defense National Defense Science and Engineering Graduate Fellowship (NDSEG). Gerrard also received a National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship.
The NDSEG is a highly competitive fellowship offered to individuals who have demonstrated ability and special aptitude for advanced training in science and engineering. Approximately 200 students were expected to receive the award this year, out of over 2,900 applicants.
Gerrard, from Evanston, Wyoming, graduated from BYU in April 2012 with a double major in Mechanical Engineering and Mathematics. He has chosen to attend Stanford in the fall, where he will pursue a PhD. He received offers for full scholarships from MIT, Duke, and UCLA as well. He is interested in studying materials, biomaterials, and biomechanics.
“I feel honored to receive the award,” commented Gerrard. “It is something that I have been pursuing ever since I learned about it during my first semester at BYU. Dr. Fullwood told me about the award, and I immediately made it a goal to receive it.”
“I have worked with Dr. Fullwood (ME) and Dr. Halverson (Math) for 3 ½ years studying computation materials,” continued Gerrard. “I especially want to thank them for pushing me, inspiring me, and giving me direction. BYU has been an amazing experience and really helped me succeed.”
“Dustin is one of the most able students I have had the pleasure of working with,” said Dr. Fullwood. “He is determined, communicates effectively, and always has a positive attitude about things. He assumes up front that he will be able to find a solution to any problem set before him. And while he is independent and happy to take on any challenge and run with it, he also works well with other students. He is good natured, and is always willing to demonstrate his amazing yo-yo skills!”
“Dustin is a walking success story that shows what you can achieve if you get involved in mentored research early and take advantage of all the opportunities that come your way,” commented Dr. Fullwood. “He has excelled in many ways and will certainly excel as he goes on to graduate school.”
Mortensen, from Mapleton, Utah, graduated from BYU with a BS in Mechanical Engineering in 2008 and an MS in 2010. He studied computational fluid dynamics (CFD) with Dr. Steve Gorrell, also working with professors Scott Thomson and Julie Vanderhoff.
He is now working toward his PhD in Aerospace Engineering at UCLA with Dr. Xiaolin Zhong. He is studying the effects of graphite ablation on hypersonic boundary layer stability using direct numerical simulation (DNS). “I’m excited to be selected for the NDSEG fellowship so I can really concentrate on my research without any distractions,” Mortensen said. “I love using computers and numerics to study challenging scientific problems. When I was in high school I did a report on a scramjet, and ever since then I’ve wanted to study hypersonics. Now I’ve been doing it for a couple of years, and I really enjoy it!”
“I would rate Clif in the top 10% of his peer group,” commented Dr. Gorrell. “He has distinguished himself in the classroom and as a research assistant. He has demonstrated an ability to quickly learn and synthesize complex concepts and then apply them to solve technical problems. I am convinced that he has great potential as a scientist/engineer, and is one of the top graduate students I’ve advised since coming to BYU. He was an excellent and valuable research assistant, and I miss him.”
NDSEG Fellowships are awarded to applicants who will pursue a doctoral degree in an area of DoD interest, which includes a variety of engineering and science fields. The Fellowship confers high honors upon its recipients, and allows them to attend any U.S. institution of their choice. NDSEG awards last for three years and pay for full tuition and all mandatory fees, a monthly stipend, and up to $1,000 a year in medical insurance.
The Department of Defense has awarded approximately 3,200 NDSEG fellowships since the program’s inception 22 years ago. The NDSEG Fellowship is sponsored by the Air Force Office of Scientific Research, the Army Research Office, the High Performance Computing Modernization Program, and the Office of Naval Research, under the direction of the Director of Defense Research and Engineering. For more information, visit http://ndseg.asee.org/.