Physics grad receives NSF graduate research fellowship

Cameron Lerch, Phys’19, was awarded a place in the National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship Program.

He plans to pursue a Ph.D. in mechanical engineering and materials science (MEMS) at Yale University, where he will work with a professor of mechanical engineering and materials science, applied physics and physics. The MEMS program provides a flexible class schedule, and Lerch is excited to continue pursuing physics-based classes and research.

“The most important aspect of a graduate degree is the professor, or group of professors that advise your research,” says Lerch. “I will be able to continue my love for physics while completing other courses relevant to my research.”

Lerch studies bulk metallic glasses, which make up a group of materials similar to steels, ceramics and plastics. High yield strength and fracture toughness, in addition to formability, make bulk metallic glasses desirable for a variety of engineering and manufacturing purposes. Common uses for materials include golf club heads and surgical scalpel blades, but they are also used in a variety of consumer electronics.

Each year, the program receives more than 12,000 applications and awards about 2,000 fellowships. The fellowship provides three years of funding for students to conduct research at any accredited U.S. institution. NSF fellows are expected to become experts in their field with the ability to contribute to research, teaching and innovations in science and engineering.

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