Clarkson University students Megan Flory ‘21 and Jack Garrett ‘21 have both been awarded Fulbright U.S. Student Study/Research Awards to attend graduate school outside the United States for the 2021-2022 academic year and Graduate student Richard Plesh has been awarded the Fulbright U.S. Student Open Study/Research Award to conduct research in Slovenia. The awards are given by the U.S. Department of State and the J. William Fulbright Foreign Scholarship Board.
Flory, Garrett, and Plesh are three of over 2,100 U.S. citizens who will study, conduct research, and teach abroad for the 2021-2022 academic year through the Fulbright U.S. Student Program. Recipients of Fulbright awards are selected on the basis of academic and professional achievement, as well as their record of service and leadership potential in their respective fields.
Megan Flory ‘21
Megan is from Wareham, Mass., and graduated this past spring with a Bachelor of Science in Psychology and Political Science and minors in Environmental Science and Environmental Policy. Megan will use their Fulbright Formal Enrollment Award to conduct research on rural sustainability planning at the University of Guelph (U of G) in Ontario, Canada. They will pursue their Masters of Science in Rural Planning and Development at U of G, and their research will evaluate the face validity of the application of smart city systems in rural contexts. Flory says the U of G offers them the opportunity to take a bigger picture view of rural communities as whole systems through their focused graduate program, of which there is no equivalent program in the U.S. Through their education and experience at the U of G, Flory intends to develop rural-specific knowledge and experience that they can bring back to rural communities in the U.S. Their career goal is to serve clients in both the U.S. and Canada when they graduate and return to upstate New York to continue their research and embark on their career in rural planning and sustainability consulting.
Their ongoing research, work, and Fulbright application was supported by Clarkson Professors Erik Backus, Stephen Bird, and Sue Powers.
Jack Garrett ‘21
Jack Garrett ‘21 is from Marblehead, Mass. He graduated this past spring with a Bachelor of Science Degree in Electrical Engineering with minors in Sustainable Energy Systems Engineering, Mathematics, and Project Management. Jack received the Fulbright-LUT University Graduate Award and will be completing his graduate work at LUT University in Finland. From an electrical systems perspective, Jack proposes that the electrical grid requires better efficiency and reliability from distributed energy resources to provide clean and efficient power. Through his Clarkson education, Jack has been preparing himself for the technically-rich, renewable energy-focused Master’s Degree at LUT in an ongoing effort to create more efficient and reliable power systems. The Fulbright-LUT Graduate Award will allow Jack to pursue a Master’s of Science in Technology in Electrical Engineering, specialized in Controls and Automation in order to meet these demands. As an internationally renowned university in sustainability research and education, LUT has an invaluable Electrical Engineering program. This unparalleled two-year program in Lappeenranta, Finland will enable Jack to work to combat climate change on the global front lines of renewable energy engineering.
Jack’s ongoing research and work throughout his time at Clarkson has been supported by faculty in the Electrical and Computer Engineering department and his professional mentors at both Tesla and GE Solar, where he held multiple internships throughout the past four years.
Richard Plesh '16, '18
Currently pursuing his PhD in Electrical and Computer Engineering with an expected graduation date of May 2022, Rick received his BS in Electrical and Computer Engineering with a minor in mathematics from Clarkson in 2016 and his MBA from Clarkson in 2018. He is originally from Buffalo, NY. He will be conducting research at the University of Ljubljana in Ljubljana, Slovenia with Dr. Vitomir Štruc in the Laboratory for Machine Learning.
As an Artificial Intelligence (AI) researcher, Rick wants to ensure the technologies we create push the field toward a positive global impact. He aims to close the gap between in-store and online returns using a novel virtual try-on technology during his proposed research period in Slovenia. An emerging AI technology, Generative Adversarial Networks (GANs), allows researchers to create and modify photo-realistic images with detail previously thought impossible. Working with researchers from the University of Ljubljana he hopes to expand the field’s understanding of GANs, so the team can design a system for hyper-realistic virtual try-on that can compete with an in-person experience. With the COVID-19 pandemic, existing fashion industry trends for greater online commerce have accelerated beyond expectations. His research in Slovenia may have far-reaching implications for advancing the fiends of GANs and other deep learning technologies beyond the fashion industry as well. This research into the workings of GANs will be applicable to the use of AI in our most fundamental global systems such as transportation, communication, and medicine. His Fulbright project will be an example of cross-cultural collaboration that guides AI in the direction of greatest social good for the global community.
Throughout his time at Clarkson, Rick’s work and Fulbright application have been supported by Professor Mahesh Banavar and his PhD advisor and research supervisor Professor Stephanie Schuckers.
The Fulbright Program is the flagship international educational exchange program sponsored by the U.S. government and is designed to increase mutual understanding between the people of the United States and the people of other countries. The primary source of funding for the Fulbright Program is an annual appropriation made by the U.S. Congress to the U.S. Department of State, Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs. Participating governments, host institutions, corporations, and foundations in foreign countries and in the United States also provide direct and indirect support. Recipients of Fulbright grants are selected on the basis of academic or professional achievement, as well as demonstrated leadership potential in their fields. The Program operates in over 160 countries worldwide.