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Clarkson University Students Named NSF Fellows

[A photograph for media use is available at]

Two Clarkson University students have received a National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship, and two have received honorable mentions.

Graduate student Daegan A. J. Gonyer of Groveton, N.H., who is studying for his M.S. in engineering science, and senior Brent W. Pomeroy of Mechanicsburg, Pa., an honors program aeronautical engineering major, received fellowships.nsf2010

Senior Eleanor L. Davis of Lake Katrine, N.Y., an honors program student who will receive dual degrees in applied mathematics and statistics, and history, and senior Andrew D. Davis of Underhill, Vt., an honors program mathematics major, received honorable mentions.

Ryan T. Watkins, who received his bachelor’s degree in aeronautical engineering from Clarkson in 2008 and is now a graduate student at the University of Michigan, also received a fellowship.

Daegan Gonyer’s research is on sustainable solutions for year-round food crop production in cold climates. It utilizes a controlled environment approach that will reduce fossil fuel, water, nutrient and land consumption of the food we eat while growing it locally. The future research his NSF proposal targeted stems from the business he started seven years ago in the field of materials science. He will look at elastically strengthening the bonding interface of polymer matrix composites to make stronger and lighter planes and other vehicles. Gonyer is performing his research with Prof. Susan E. Powers.

Brent Pomeroy’s research is inspired by the soaring flight characteristics of albatrosses and sea gulls. These birds fly with their wings cambered down. Utilizing computational resources and modeling flow fields, he attempted to understand the fundamental aerodynamics of these birds and why they fly with their wings the way they do. Results indicate there are aerodynamic advantages to flying with cambered wings. Next year, he plans to attend the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign to study low speed experimental aerodynamics. Pomeroy performed his research with Prof. Kenneth D. Visser.

Eleanor Davis’ research looks at the synchronization of networks, which can be used to model systems across many parts of life, from social interaction to electrical systems. An important aspect of networks is their ability to synchronize, which occurs when each node, or member of a network, acts in unison with all of the others. Synchronizability is often a desired aspect of networks, and improving it can have applications ranging from better understanding intercellular communication to increasing the stability of power networks. Davis performed her research with Prof. Takashi Nishikawa. After graduation, Davis will be entering the computational science, engineering, and mathematics program at the University of Texas at Austin.

Andrew Davis’ research focuses on developing a new model that will identify the underlying dynamics that enable a global epidemic. Ideally, such a model facilitates the development of improved strategies for reducing the frequency or severity of pandemics. His research attempts to simulate recurrent pandemics. He hypothesizes that with appropriately chosen parameters for his simulation, the system will show self-organized criticality (SOC), in which the system will tend toward some critical point. Identifying SOC in the context of a compartmental disease model may help explain the large-scale epidemics that occur on a recurring basis with low, but observable, probability. Davis performed his research with Prof. Joseph D. Skufca. After graduation, Davis will start the master’s program in computation for design and optimization at Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

This is the third consecutive year a Clarkson undergraduate has received an NSF Fellowship. Although the fellowships are awarded to both undergraduate and graduate students, they typically go to students already into their graduate work.

The National Science Foundation’s Graduate Research Fellowship Program is intended to help ensure the vitality of the human resource base of science and engineering in the United States. It provides three years of support for graduate study leading to research-based master’s or doctoral degrees.

Clarkson’s Honors Program is an intensive four-year curriculum for exceptionally talented students. The University admits only 30 new students to the Honors Program each year.

Clarkson University launches leaders into the global economy. One in six alumni already leads as a CEO, VP or equivalent senior executive of a company. Located just outside the Adirondack Park in Potsdam, N.Y., Clarkson is a nationally recognized research university for undergraduates with select graduate programs in signature areas of academic excellence directed toward the world’s pressing issues. Through 50 rigorous programs of study in engineering, business, arts, sciences and health sciences, the entire learning-living community spans boundaries across disciplines, nations and cultures to build powers of observation, challenge the status quo, and connect discovery and engineering innovation with enterprise.

Photo caption: Clarkson University graduate student Daegan A. J. Gonyer (left) and senior Brent W. Pomeroy (middle) have received National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowships. Senior Eleanor L. Davis (right) received an honorable mention. Not pictured is Andrew D. Davis, who also received an honorable mention.

[News directors and editors: For more information, contact Michael P. Griffin, director of News & Digital Content Services, at 315-268-6716 or]

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