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June 21, 2017

Undergraduate wins summer fellowship from startup company

Written By: Annie Anderson

In June 2017, undergraduate student Vanessa Meschke, a senior materials science and engineering major from Little Falls, Minnesota, won the NextGen Fellowship given by Citrine, a startup company in materials informatics.

This $5,000 fellowship supports undergraduate summer research and provides methodological training in data management and sciences. Meschke conducts her research under the mentorship of Dane Morgan, Harvey D. Spangler Professor in materials science and engineering, as part of the Materials Informatics Skunkworks lab, a group of undergraduates working together to provide materials informatics research for companies.

Meschke says doing research as an undergraduate appealed to her because it offered the opportunity to connect what she was learning in her coursework to real-world applications.

“Doing research in college was a natural way for me to explore my major and how I can tie it to the real world,” she says. “In particular, I pursued Professor Morgan’s lab because it combined my interests in materials science and engineering and machine learning. This allows me to thoroughly understand machine learning processes by applying them to materials science problems.”

In summer 2017, she will be using the machine learning tools provided by Citrine to develop a standardized and accessible database for other members of the Skunkworks lab. After completing her undergraduate degree at UW-Madison, Meschke plans to attend graduate school in the materials science field.