By Zoe Elledge
Recipients of prestigious academic award include Shovan Bhatia, Pradyot Yadav and Katie Groenhout
Three Georgia Tech engineering students – Shovan Bhatia, Katelyn Groenhout and Pradyot Yadav have been named 2021 scholars by The Barry Goldwater Scholarship and Excellence in Education Foundation. They were chosen for their academic excellence in undergraduate research work and dedication to furthering research and development in their respective fields. From medical robotics to electrochemical energy solutions to wireless communications technology, these engineers are already making research advances in their respective fields.
3rd-year biomedical engineering student
Shovan Bhatia is a third-year student from the Wallace H. Coulter Department of Biomedical Engineering on a pre-med track. He has been involved in Professor Jaydev Desai’s Medical Robotics and Automation (RoboMed) Lab since Fall of 2019, where he has been able to blend his love of robotics with his goal of working in the medical field. Bhatia is currently working on creating an assistive robotic exoskeleton to improve the quality of life for those living with spinal cord injury.
Seokhwan Jeong and Phillip Tran have also served as mentors for Bhatia and encouraged him to independently discover and pursue his interests in medicine and robotics from his first day in the lab.
“Through the research I’m performing, I have had the unique opportunity to design and iterate at the benchtop and then translate our work into the clinical space through spinal cord injury human subject testing,” said Bhatia. “I plan on carrying what I learn from my research into medical school and beyond, where I hope to use innovative techniques to improve people’s lives.”
Bhatia applied for the Goldwater Scholarship to become part of a community of highly motivated individuals that the program cultivates. Receiving the scholarship has further encouraged him to pursue his goal of practicing medicine and finding ways to translate engineering and robotics principles into his work.
3rd-year electrical and computer engineering student
Pradyot Yadav is a third-year student from the School of Electrical and Computer Engineering. Yadav worked in Professor James Kenney’s lab investigating radio frequency and microwave power amplifier design, which led to his winning the IMS Student Design Competition in 2019 and a publication in the Microwave Journal in 2020. As a member of Professor Yang Wang’s lab, the Georgia Tech Electronics and Micro-System Lab (GEMS), Yadav helped to implement the group’s first Gallium Nitride (GaN) MMIC design. He is currently working as a technical fellow with the Hughes Research Laboratory GaN process, which is the fastest GaN process in the world.
Outside of the academic sphere, Yadav also works as a Radio Operator for WREK FM’s Rock, Rhythm, and Roll segment and is a member of The Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE), Eta Kappa Nu, and the IMS 2021 Steering Committee.
Yadav applied for the Goldwater Scholarship to expand his horizons in terms of future research and graduate studies, and for him, becoming a Goldwater scholar is a testament to the extensive work he has put into research.
“My being awarded this scholarship marks the start of a career focused on the cutting edge in RF/mmWave research,” said Yadav. “The scholarship also provides me with a solid academic foundation for when I apply to graduate school and seek funding for my future research.”
Yadav plans to intern this summer at Qorvo, a leading radio frequency company, where he will work with a device physics Fellow to develop a new GaN device model that would provide its designers with more flexibility. This will be his second summer interning for the company. After he graduates next Spring, he will be pursuing a PhD in Microwave Engineering, with a focus on III-IV semiconductor research and mmWave circuit design and ultimately aims for a career in industry research.
3rd-year chemical and biomolecular engineering student
Katie Grouenhout is a third-year student from the School of Biomolecular and Chemical Engineering. Since the fall of 2019, she has been part of the lab run by Professor Paul Kohl, her research advisor, and she is currently working on a project on anion-exchange membrane electrolyzers for clean production of hydrogen. Grouenhout met two of her other mentors in Kohl’s lab: Garrett Huang, a recently graduated Ph.D. student, and Mrinmay Mandal, a post-doc currently in Kohl’s lab, both of whom Grouenhout has worked closely with. In addition to research, Grouenhout works as an undergraduate teaching assistant for the School.
Grouenhout was encouraged to pursue a career in research by her research advisor at a Research Experience for Undergraduates (REU) program at The University of Mississippi the summer after her freshman year. She was motivated to apply for the scholarship because of the many ways in which it would aid her goal of pursuing a Ph.D. after graduation.
“Receiving the Goldwater scholarship reinforces my goal to pursue chemical engineering at the doctorate level,” said Grouenhout. “With this scholarship, I plan to take on more independent experiments in the lab and continue to develop my knowledge of electrochemistry.”
After earning her Ph.D. in chemical engineering, Grouenhout plans to pursue a career in research and academia, with a focus on electrochemical energy solutions.
About the Scholarship
The Goldwater Scholarship, the most prestigious one of its kind for natural science, engineering and mathematics students, awards college sophomores and juniors who plan to pursue careers in STEM research. Its goal is to cultivate scientific talent and aid in the creation of highly qualified professionals in science and engineering fields in the US. More than 1250 STEM students were nominated for the scholarship by 438 different schools, and out of the 410 who were selected, a little over half are women. Each recipient will receive $7,500.