Two current undergraduate students and two recent graduates of Clarkson University have been awarded National Science Foundation (NSF) Graduate Research Fellowships (GRFP).
Isabella (Izzi) Grasso ‘21, Rebecca Meacham ‘21, Timothy Dunn ‘19, and Seamus Ober ‘20 received the prestigious awards.
Izzi Grasso, a Portland, ME native, is majoring in data science and will graduate in May. She plans to complete graduate work toward a Ph.D. in Information Science at the University of Washington where she will be working at the Center for an Informed Public, whose mission is to combat strategic misinformation and promote democratic discourse. She is broadly interested in studying how people talk about sexual violence in online communities and is interested in combatting rape culture.
During an NSF Research Experience for Undergraduates (REU) at Bigelow Laboratory for Ocean Sciences in Maine, Izzi was introduced to algorithmic bias and the wider societal impacts of automation. Izzi has been conducting research with Dr. Jeanna Matthes auditing criminal justice software, quantifying gender bias using machine learning, and exploring algorithmic accountability. This work was published in the proceedings of the ACM Artificial Intelligence, Ethics, and Society Conference.
She has worked with Dr. Joseph Skufca to develop a collection system in response to the new Conscience Rule, which expands the religious freedoms of workers in health care. They worked in collaboration with Dr. Chad Topaz, co-founder of the Quantitative Study of Inclusion, Diversity, and Equity Institute to provide the grassroots organization with the quantitative firepower needed to support people disproportionately impacted by this new rule: the transgender community, women, and femme embodied people.
Grasso has also worked with Dr. Matthews on quantifying gender bias in different languages using natural language processing.
More recently, she has worked with Dr. Golshan Madraki, Dr. Yu Liu, and Dr. Matthews studying misinformation related to COVID on social media as well as the behavior of members of congress on Twitter and on Parler before and through the attempted insurrection at the Capitol, leading to two accepted manuscripts for publication.
Grasso has also received the Goldwater Scholarship and presented her research at the Naval Academy Conference on Science, Engineering, and Mathematics and at the annual International Ocean Sciences meeting. In addition to her previously mentioned publications, she has a first-author publication in the ACM/IMS Foundations of Data Science Conference 2020, and a first-author publication in the ecology journal, Ecosphere, and has two more co-authored manuscripts submitted for publication.
With her Clarkson education, her upcoming research at the University of Washington, and her NSF GFRP funding, Grasso plans to use her computational skills to dismantle systems of oppression.
Rebecca Meacham ‘21 is a native of Moira, NY. She will graduate this spring from Clarkson’s Honors Program with a B.S. in Chemical Engineering and minors in chemistry and materials science. The NSF GRFP funding will allow her to pursue her Ph.D. in Materials Science and Engineering at MIT this fall.
During her time at Clarkson, Meacham’s research has focused on investigating dynamic covalent exchange in polyanhydrides, work that will culminate in her undergraduate honors thesis. She is co-author on a publication of this work, which has been published in Polymer Chemistry. She presented her research at the NNY ACS regional meeting in March of 2019 and will present virtually at the NNY ACS and ACS Polymer division conferences in April of this year.
In the summer of 2019, she participated in an NSF REU at the Cornell Center for Materials Research, work that resulted in a first-author publication in Experimental Mechanics. Her work at Clarkson and elsewhere has inspired her application to MIT, where she will continue research to combine materials and nature by looking to nature for inspiration to develop responsive materials. Her work earned her a Goldwater Scholarship during her junior year.
Meacham’s career goal is to develop materials that can be used to improve the quality of everyday life. Beyond the materials that she creates, she also hopes to increase the use of bio-inspired materials and inspire others to gain interest and an appreciation of the beauty and usefulness of natural systems.
At Clarkson, she performed research with Chemistry Professor Dr. Devon Shipp and Dr. Alan Zehnder of Cornell Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering.
Clarkson University alumnus Timothy Dunn ‘19 is originally from Penfield, NY. Dunn graduated from Clarkson’s Honors Program with great distinction in 2019, earning a B.S. in Electrical Engineering and Computer Science with a minor in math. Dunn is now pursuing his Ph.D. at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor and is working to improve the accuracy of nanopore-based genome sequencing at the intersection of molecular biology, signal processing, and machine learning. At Clarkson, he researched in the TARS Lab, work that culminated in his honors thesis on remote detection of finger swipe pressure using thermal cameras.
Seamus Ober ‘20 graduated from Clarkson’s Honors Program with great distinction in 2020, earning a B.S. in Electrical Engineering with a concentration in electrical power engineering. The Newfield, NY native also earned two minors in math and chemistry during his undergraduate work at Clarkson. He began his work toward his Ph.D. in the fall of 2020 at the University of Texas at Austin studying materials science and engineering in the Manthiram Laboratory.
For questions regarding NSF GRFP eligibility and application please contact Karyn Crispo, Associate Director of Major Fellowships & Awards at Clarkson University. Karyn holds workshops and meetings during the summer and into the fall for students interested in applying for an NSF GRFP; she can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 315-268-6006.