Department of Materials Science & Engineering (MSE) undergraduates Colton Ginter and Akash Ram each received a prestigious National Science Foundation (NSF) Graduate Research Fellowship.
Ginter began his undergraduate education at The State College of Florida (SCF) and transferred to UF in 2020. In the summer of 2021, he completed a Science Undergraduate Laboratory Internship at Argonne National Laboratory (AGL), studying solid polymer electrolytes. That fall, he joined the research group of Megan Butala, Ph.D., an MSE assistant professor, to study cathode materials for energy-dense lithium batteries. In his current research, Ginter conducts atomic-level X-ray analysis on materials for phase change memory devices. He is also the current president of the UF chapter of the Materials Advantage student program.
“I am deeply honored to be selected for the NSF Graduate Research Fellowship,” Ginter said. “I would like to thank my friends and the many mentors who shaped the person I am today, particularly Dr. Butala, whose research group is like a family and where I learned that a lab could drive excellence in both science and personal wellness. And Dr. Zachary Hood at AGL, who taught me to dream big!”
Ginter also recently received the Outstanding Gator Engineering 2-Year Scholar award from the Herbert Wertheim College of Engineering.
Ram combined his interests in materials and computer science by majoring in MSE and minoring in computer science. He joined the lab of Richard Hennig, Ph.D., an MSE professor, in his first semester on campus in the fall of 2019. He participated in the Theoretical and Computational Chemistry REU at Georgia Tech in the summer of 2021, studying the charge carrier properties of a halide perovskite using quantum dynamics, and the CHARM REU program at the University of Delaware in the summer of 2022, where he investigated the use of density functional tight binding to model a semiconducting nanostructure for terahertz applications.
Ram is an ambassador for the Center for Undergraduate Research and a co-chair of the professional development committee for Materials Advantage.
“I am excited and honored to receive the NSF fellowship and would like to thank my family, friends and mentors over the years – especially Dr. Richard Hennig, Dr. Joshua Kretchmer and Dr. Anderson Janotti,” Ram said. “I would also like to give a special thanks to everyone in the Hennig Materials Theory Lab and the MSE department. With this NSF funding, I hope to shape my research in the future and help improve access to the world of computational materials science.”
The NSF Graduate Research Fellowship recognizes and supports outstanding graduate students in NSF-supported science, technology, engineering and mathematics disciplines pursuing research-based master’s and doctoral degrees at accredited institutions nationwide.