Two students awarded NSF graduate research awards

Publication Date
NSF Graduate Research award winners Olivia Britton and James Bogg

Two seniors were recently awarded National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowships. The program recognizes outstanding students in NSF-supported science, technology, engineering and mathematics disciplines pursuing graduate degrees in the U.S. Those honored were:

James Boggs ‘18

Majors: Computer Science and Philosophy

Minor: Organizing Theme

Hometown: Charlotte, N.C.

Activities: Concordiensis, Student Forum, Mountebanks, Virtual U, Philosophy Club, Ephemeris, Kappa Alpha Society, Virtual-U president, Omicron Delta Kappa, Seward Fellow

Research while at Union: Worked with Professor John Rieffel to develop intelligent control systems for a class of soft robots called tensegrity robots. As a senior thesis in this lab, he worked to determine whether morphological computation is a more effective method of learning effective gaits than the kinds of machine learning used previously. Also interned during the summer of 2017 at the Naval Research Laboratory in Washington, D.C. as an undergraduate researcher with Dr. Alexandra Coman under Dr. David Aha in the National Center for Applied Research in Artificial Intelligence to develop a framework for agent rebellion against operator-given goals.

Graduate School Plans: Computational science Ph.D. program

Olivia Britton ‘18

Majors: Anthropology and Political Science

Minor: Psychology

Hometown: New Hempstead, N.Y.

Activities: Co-Founder and Co-President of the Caribbean Student Association,

Minerva mentor, Messa House, member of Omicron Delta Kappa and Pi Sigma Alpha, Klemm Fellow

Research while at Union: Under the guidance of Professors Guillermina Seri and Michelle Osborn, she researched two concepts. First, how neoliberalism has reshaped humanitarian aid efforts and thus created a market for the commoditization of refugee bodies in connection to the revitalization of abandoned small Italian towns. Second, the ways in which media depictions fabricate a narrative that makes refugees susceptible to the growing trend of fraudulent humanitarian relief projects. She also served as a researcher for the NY Six Upstate-Global Collective Student Summer Research Fellowship under the guidance of Professor Tom Lobe, investigating and analyzing the demographics and trends of movements of refugees in the Middle East, and is currently working with Professor Zoe Oxley on a project looking at early political socialization and gender gaps.

Graduate School Plans: Political science Ph.D. program