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Four graduate students named Jacobus Fellows

Courtesy of the Office of Communications
Courtesy of the Office of Communications

On Feb. 14, the University Office of Communications announced that Máté Bezdek, Sarah Carson, Daniel Floryan and Matthew Ritger have been named winners of the Porter Ogden Jacobus Fellowship, the University’s “top honor for graduate students.”

The award is given to one Ph.D. student in each of the four academic divisions: natural sciences, social sciences, engineering, and humanities. The fellowships will support their final year of study at the University.

Ritger is a doctoral student in the English department who came to the University in 2014. He earned a B.A. at Dartmouth College and an M.F.A. at Cornell University.

In an email to The Daily Princetonian, Ritger said he feels “surprised and grateful most of all, especially to my committee of advisers for their support, and also to Princeton for seeing something in this work.”

Ritger’s specific area of study is the relationship between English literature and the history of punishment from around 1500 to 1700. He said he has no specific plans for after his studies at the University.

“Most of all I want to keep learning,” Ritger wrote in the email. “Maybe I'll be able to do that as a teacher, or maybe in some other role.”

Ritger received multiple research grants from the Center for Digital Humanities, the Institute for International and Regional Studies, and the Center for the Study of Religion.

Bezdek, a doctoral student in inorganic chemistry, came to the University in 2014. His interests lie primarily in fundamental thermochemistry, with applications in the development of  more efficient industrial catalysts, clean fuels, and new pharmaceuticals.

According to the Office of Communications, Bezdek said,  “I hope to build on the expertise I have acquired and contribute to progress in these areas after graduate school.”

As also noted by the Office of Communications, Bezdek received a Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada Predoctoral Fellowship. He has also received the University’s Third Year Seminar Hubbell ’47 Prize, the Canadian Society of Chemical Industry Award, and the German Academic Exchange Service Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowship.

Carson is a doctoral student in history who arrived in 2013 after receiving her B.A. from Dartmouth College and studying Hindi as a non-matriculated student at the University of Washington in Seattle.

Her dissertation focused on weather science in India, especially within the relationship between state meteorologists and the public and how that relationship shapes scientific credibility.

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“These research interests align with my personal commitments to education and climate justice,” she said in the University press release.

She was also awarded a U.S. Department of State Critical Language Scholarship to study Hindi at the American Institute of Indian Studies in Jaipur, India. Prior to her time at the University, she was named a Fulbright-Nehru English teaching assistant at the Kendriya Vidyalaya Cossipore School in Cossipore, Kolkata, India.

Floryan is a doctoral student in mechanical and aerospace engineering. Prior to coming to the University in 2014, he received a B.S. in mechanical engineering and a B.A. in economics with a minor in mathematics from Cornell University.

The primary focus of Flroyan’s studies is high-performance biolocomotion. His dissertation employed experimental methods to determine how fish swim most effectively.

At the University, Floryan has received the School of Engineering and Applied Science Award for Excellence, the Brit and Eli Harari Post Generals Fellowship, the Sayre Award for Academic Excellence, and the Charles W. Lummis Scholarship, as well as a 2015 Guggenheim Fellowship.

Carson and Bezdek did not respond to request for comment by the time of publication. Floryan declined to comment immediately.