The Fannie and John Hertz Foundation has selected two Caltech seniors, Kurtis Carsch and Paul Dieterle, to receive 2016 Hertz Fellowships. A total of 12 students were selected from more than 800 applicants and will receive up to five years of support for their graduate studies.
Carsch and Dieterle bring the number of Caltech undergraduate students who have received the Hertz fellowship to 62.
Kurtis Carsch, a chemistry major from Bellevue, Washington, attributes his interest in chemistry to playing with LEGO blocks at a young age—paving the way for his current focus on what he describes as "combining elements to create molecules with unprecedented properties." His work experiences at SAFCell and Honeywell UOP, as well as his research experiences at Caltech with William A. Goddard, the Charles and Mary Ferkel Professor of Chemistry, Materials Science, and Applied Physics; and professor of chemistry Theodor Agapie, have focused on the interface between experimental and theoretical chemistry. He will receive both a BS and an MS in chemistry this spring and begin his PhD work in inorganic chemistry at Harvard University in the fall, where he, inspired by multimetallic enzymes in biology, will study the manipulation of chemical bonds by multiple metal centers. Carsch is also a recipient of a National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship.
Paul Dieterle is a senior in applied physics from Albuquerque, New Mexico. While attending high school in Madison, Wisconsin, Dieterle discovered a passion for physics, as well as for rock climbing and creative writing. At Caltech, he has worked and studied under the guidance of Oskar Painter, the John G. Braun Professor of Applied Physics and Fletcher Jones Foundation Co-Director of the Kavli Nanoscience Institute; professor of physics Maria Spiropulu, professor of applied physics Keith Schwab, and the late professor Tom Tombrello. His research focuses on the physics of superconducting quantum circuits, photon-phonon interactions, and many-body interactions. In the long term, he says, he aims to "construct integrated quantum systems to explore both fundamental and application-oriented physics." Dieterle will also attend Harvard University in the fall, pursuing a PhD in quantum physics.
According to the Hertz Foundation, fellows are chosen for their intellect, their ingenuity, and their potential to bring meaningful improvement to society. "Following in the footsteps of Hertz Fellows who have come before them, these young men and women will utilize this fellowship to pursue work that will have a tremendous impact on the future of our country and society as a whole," said Robbee Baker Kosak, Hertz Foundation president, in a statement.
Since 1963, the Hertz Foundation has awarded fellowships to students they describe as "the best and brightest" from the fields of science and engineering. The highly competitive selection process for the Hertz Fellowship includes a comprehensive written application, four references, and two rounds of technical interviews.