Nuclear science and engineering (NSE) graduate student Yan Chen has been selected to receive a Schlumberger Foundation Faculty for the Future fellowship. Launched by the Schlumberger Foundation in 2004, the fellowships aim to support academic women role models for the next generation. The fellowships are awarded to women from developing and emerging economies who are preparing for overseas PhD or postdoctoral study in the physical sciences and related disciplines at top universities.
The long-term goal of the fellowship program is to encourage more women to pursue scientific disciplines. Grant recipients are therefore selected for their leadership capabilities as well as their scientific talents. They are also expected to return to their home countries to continue their academic careers and inspire other young women.
At MIT, Chen, who hails from China, works with NSE professor Bilge Yildiz to study how the kinetics of oxygen reduction reaction — a key reaction in electrochemical energy systems — is impacted by the surface properties of transition metal oxides (materials with a variety of electronic, chemical and mechanical properties). The aim is to guide the design of materials with high catalytic properties that may be useful in large-scale energy conversion and storage systems.
The Faculty for the Future community now stands at 405 women from 68 countries, and grows steadily each year.
Chen is also one of four MIT students awarded this year's Chinese Government Award for Outstanding Self-Financed Students Abroad. The others are: Kailiang Chen (electrical engineering and computer science), and Lei Dai and Wenlan Chen (physics). These awards were established in 2003 by the China Scholarship Council (CSC) to encourage research excellence and to recognize the achievements of Chinese students abroad.