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Dartmouth Engineers Offered Fulbright Fellowships

May 26, 2020   |   by Hannah Silverstein   |   Dartmouth News

Two engineering students are among the nine Dartmouth alumni and students offered the teaching or research grants.

Seven Dartmouth students and two alumni have been selected as Fulbright Scholars, and will study or teach in Austria, Canada, Germany, Indonesia, Mexico, Spain, and South Korea.

Sponsored by the U.S. government, the Fulbright Program is designed to increase mutual understanding between the people of the United States and the people of other nations through international educational exchanges in more than 155 countries. Fulbright awards are available for research, graduate study, and teaching English. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, this year's Fulbright programs have been postponed until January.

Mary Tobin '20

San Diego, Calif.
Engineering sciences major; human-centered design minor
English teaching assistant grant, Germany

Mary Tobin

Mary Tobin fell in love with Germany while on a language study abroad program in Berlin. "The scenery was beautiful, and the cultural attitudes align with my interest in sustainability," she says.

An engineering major, Tobin is "fascinated by how things work. I'm captivated by the process of imagining a contraption and then designing and fabricating the device into a physical object that could make an impact."

Extensive backcountry experience has instilled her with a love for the outdoors and a commitment to using engineering to fight climate change, she says. "I want to work with others to implement green technologies to preserve natural spaces and improve livelihoods."

In her "Engineering Design Methodology and Project Initiation" course she had the opportunity to analyze Dartmouth's energy systems and research alternative solutions.

"We learned about up-and-coming alternative technologies and worked with stakeholders—engineers, administrators, the sustainability office, Hanover officials—to incorporate their priorities into our recommendations," she says.

Tobin plays on the women's varsity rugby team, was a member of the executive board of the Dartmouth Society of Women Engineers, and is an associate affiliate with the Irving Institute for Energy and Society. She also spent a term on the Stretch, the earth sciences department's off-campus program.

Fulbright is "an incredible opportunity to engage with a new community, and to increase my global understanding. I am honored, humbled, and excited to see where this new adventure will take me," she says.

"I'm excited to help students improve their English and to join the local community, explore the German backcountry, and engage with local engineers. I want to immerse myself in the culture as much as possible."

Chase Yakaboski, PhD Candidate

Mary Esther, Fla.
PhD candidate in engineering, Thayer School of Engineering
Research/study grant, Austria

Chase Yakaboski

Chase Yakaboski will use his Fulbright scholarship to develop research for his PhD thesis on artificial intelligence and machine learning.

A 2014 graduate of the University of California, Berkeley, Yakaboski was drawn to pursue research abroad because of his experience as a civilian software developer and operations research analyst for the U.S. Air Force. Though he was based in Florida, his work took him to Australia "as part of a collaboration effort to develop our software tools in compliance with other country's specific requirements," he says.

"It was extremely rewarding working in another country and engaging in a diplomatic as well as a technical capacity, and it gave me an appreciation for the importance of cross-cultural fellowship."

In Austria, he hopes to explore family roots in addition to pursuing "the research that I love," he says. "I couldn't pass that up."

Engineering comes naturally to Yakaboski, who works with Professor of Engineering Eugene Santos, whom he credits with teaching him "how to think deeply about problems."

"I like trying to understand a problem, making something to address it, and seeing if it works. Dartmouth has fed my intellectual curiosity because of its interdisciplinary emphasis and the ease of access to mentors. Where else would I be getting coffee with my adviser every day? These small interactions have been hugely beneficial to all aspects of my academic development."

He is a fellow of Thayer's PhD Innovation Program, which provides entrepreneurial training to graduate students pursuing private sector careers. "I think my path lies somewhere between research and entrepreneurship," he says.

Outside of research, Yakavoski loves to play tennis. "When I am stuck on a problem, the tennis court is the first place I go."

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