Four students at the UCLA Henry Samueli School of Engineering and Applied Science have received the National Science Foundation’s prestigious Graduate Research Fellowship. The competitive fellowship recognizes “outstanding graduate students in NSF-supported science, technology, engineering, and mathematics disciplines who are pursuing research-based master’s and doctoral degrees at accredited United States institutions.” It provides three years of financial support, including an annual stipend of $34,000, along with a $12,000 cost-of-education allowance for tuition and fees. Two of the recipients are current UCLA Engineering graduate students – Samira Chizari, in mechanical and aerospace engineering and Jennifer Zou, in computer science. Two are graduating seniors – Iris Cong in computer science and Parastou Mortazavian, in electrical engineering. Snapshots of the four new fellows are below.


Samira Chizari, second-year mechanical engineering graduate student
Faculty advisor: Jonathan B. Hopkins
Research interests: Advanced optical microfabrication techniques to enable additive manufacturing of mechanical metamaterials.
Undergraduate institution: Khajeh Nasir Toosi University of Technology, Iran

Jennifer Zou, second-year computer science graduate student
Faculty advisors: Jason Ernst and Eleazar Eskin
Research Interests: Integration of large genomic datasets, and applying machine learning methods to discover the biological basis of complex disease.
Undergraduate institution: Duke University


Iris Cong, senior computer science major
Research Interests: The junction of condensed matter physics and engineering, with the focus of making quantum computing practical in the post-Moore’s Law era.
Future graduate institution: Harvard University, Physics Department

Parastou Mortazavian, senior electrical engineering major
Research interests: Terahertz quantum cascade lasers.
Future graduate institution: UCLA. Mortazavian will be a part of electrical engineering professor Benjamin Williams’ research group.
In addition, three UCLA Engineering alumni – Kai Matsuka ’16, Vishwajith Ramesh ’15, and Jing Gong ’15 are also among the fellowship recipients. In total, 36 UCLA students and alumni received the 2017 fellowship. In total, the National Science Foundation offered 2,000 students graduate research fellowships

This post updated April 25