Who are GFSD Alumni?

Over the last 33 years, GFSD has supported over 600 fellows. Recently, we tracked down ~300 of our alumni to see where they are in their career. Not surprisingly, our alumni are leaders in various fields of science and engineering. They are leading research laboratories, solving world’s largest problems, building companies, and mentoring the next generation of scientists and engineers. Here are some highlights:

  • 85 of our alumni are professors. 59 of them are female with a strong representation in Computer Science (14 female faculty members)
  • 34 of our alumni are working in various national laboratories (More than 50% of them returned to their host agencies)
  • 18 of our alumni are founders, CEOs or CTO of companies
  • Many of our alumni are leaders in data science, cyber security, artificial intelligence etc

If you are an alum of our fellowship, we would love to talk to you. Please feel free to email Amy Kim to schedule a meeting. Also, we are starting to build our alumni community and would love for you to join. Join us on LinkedIn.

Andre Thompson Ph.D. (2014 GFSD Fellow)

While Dr. Thompson was pursuing his Ph.D. in Material Science and Engineering at the University of Michigan, he was selected as a GFSD fellow. (He was raised in Detroit and received his undergraduate degree from Morehouse College.) He interned at NIST for three summers. Upon completing his doctorate (conducted research on drug delivery polymers), he was awarded NIST’s NRC Postdoctoral fellowship to work in the Engineering Laboratory (EL), Fire Research Division, Flammability Reduction Group for two years. Now, he is a materials research engineer at NIST.

Laura Mather Ph.D. (1994 GFSD Fellow)

While Dr Mather was pursuing her doctorate in computer science from the University of Colorado – Boulder, she won GFSD fellowship. This gave her an opportunity to work at the NSA . Upon completing her Ph.D., she worked at and also a eBay where she was one of the first engineers to build tools to protect users again phishing scams. After than she started two companies (Silver Tail Systems and Talent Sonar.) She is a well-known expert in cybersecurity, HR technology, nudge technology, and machine learning. She continues to mentor many technologists and advocate to improve diversity in technology. (More about Dr. Mather can be found here. )

Parinaz Fathi Ph.D. (2018 GFSD Fellow)

While Dr. Fathi was pursuing her doctorate in bioengineering at the University of Illinois – Urbana Champaign, she was selected as a GFSD fellow in partnership with NIST. She was able to work with her graduate advisor and her NIST advisor to design a collaborative research project (intersection of nanotechnology and microfluidic device design). Upon completing her Ph.D., she became the IRTA Postdoctoral Fellow at NIH and now is a now is a PI leading a group that is developing organ-on-a-chip models of immune-related conditions and evaluating the role of biological nanoparticles in autoimmune diseases and cancer.

Our alumni believe increasing diversity in STEM fields is important.

“It is critical to improve diversity in STEM – and particularly in academia – in order to build a more robust talent pipeline to tackle some of our nation (and the world’s) most challenging technical problems. Improving diversity among professors/technical leaders demonstrates that the STEM community values the contributions from everyone; if the STEM community continues to marginalize and push aside individuals from underrepresented groups the whole community loses valuable talent.”

“STEM is something anyone with sufficient encouragement and support can pursue, but my personal experience suggests that systemic biases have deprived certain socioeconomic groups from access to these resources. Increasing diversity in STEM is important because it directly addresses this problem by developing relatable role models and advocates who are acutely aware and can directly address the needs of groups underrepresented in STEM.”