Four graduate students awarded Jacobus Fellowship
The University awarded Porter Ogden Jacobus Fellowships to graduate students Vaneet Aggarwal, Melinda Baldwin, Charles Conroy and Joseph Moshenska on Saturday.
The fellowship, one of the most prestigious honors conferred on graduate students, funds the final year of graduate study for students who display the highest scholarly excellence in their fields and is awarded to students from a variety of disciplines.
Aggarwal, the first electrical-engineering graduate student to win the Jacobus Fellowship in 13 years, is writing his dissertation on the enhancement of wireless-communication networks.
In addition to his dissertation work, Aggarwal also developed “an entirely new approach to the grand challenge of reliably determining error thresholds that are both necessary and sufficient to support fault tolerant quantum computing,” said his advisor, electrical engineering professor Robert Calderbank, in a University statement.
Before coming to the University, Aggarwal studied at the Indian Institute of Technology in Kanpur, where he earned a bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering.
Baldwin, a doctoral student in the Program in History of Science, investigated the history of the scientific journal Nature in her dissertation, called “Nature and the Making of a Scientific Community, 1869–1939.”
Her dissertation is intended to “contribute to a broader understanding of the structure of 19th-century British science and the development of early 20th-century international scientific relations,” Baldwin said in the statement.
Upon learning that she had been selected to receive the Jacobus Fellowship, Baldwin said she was pleasantly surprised after a friend informed her of the fellowship’s significance.
“To be honest, initially I wasn’t quite sure what the Jacobus Fellowship was, or what it meant!” she said in an e-mail to The Daily Princetonian. “The graduate school awards a number of honorific fellowships ... and while I was thrilled to receive one, it wasn’t immediately clear to me how prestigious the Jacobus is in particular. I had no idea Shirley Tilghman would be introducing me to hundreds of alums on Alumni Day!”
Baldwin received her undergraduate degree from Davidson College, where she double-majored in chemistry and history, and a master’s degree in history and philosophy of science from the University of Cambridge. After leaving Princeton, she will work to revise her dissertation work into a book manuscript.
Conroy, a Ph.D. candidate in the astrophysics department, played an important part in a survey of distant galaxies as an undergraduate. His dissertation, “The Stellar Population Synthesis Technique,” investigates a tool for observing galaxies’ physical properties. Conroy has authored nearly 20 papers for several journals.
His adviser, astronomy professor James Gunn, said he sometimes does not think of Conroy as one of his students.
“When people ask me about my students, I almost always forget Charlie, because he does not feel like a student, but instead like a valued peer and colleague,” Gunn said in the statement. “When it is all done, I doubt that he will have learned nearly as much from me as I from him.”
Conroy earned his bachelor’s degree in physics and astrophysics from the University of California, Berkeley.
Moshenska, who is pursuing a doctorate in the English department, explores the representation of the sense of touch in 16th- and 17th-century English literature in his dissertation, “ ‘Feeling Pleasures’: The Sense of Touch in the English Renaissance.”
“Upon being awarded the Jacobus fellowship I felt astonished and delighted,” Moshenska said in an e-mail.
“My conversations with my advisers, other professors and graduate students, and my own students at Princeton have helped me to take my work in directions I never could have anticipated, and receiving the fellowship has enabled me to further share the excitement that I have felt throughout my dissertation work,” he added.
In the statement, his adviser, comparative literature professor Leonard Barkan, called Moshenska “one of those once-in-a-generation students who seem to have come fully formed, possessing mature capacities in both philology and methodology, but who also ... seem to grow by leaps and bounds in the process of their scholarly education.”
Moshenska graduated with a degree in English literature from Sidney Sussex College, University of Cambridge.
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