April 30, 2018 at 4:07 pm

Brothers Awarded Top Science Fellowships for Grad School

Ari and Zak Blumer

Ari and Zak Blumer

Ohio University Honors Tutorial College engineering physics majors Ari Blumer and Zak Blumer have accepted graduate fellowships to study in the Materials Science and Engineering Ph.D. program at Ohio State University in Columbus.

Ari Blumer received the prestigious National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship, which provides three years of financial support within a five-year fellowship period—$34,000 annual stipend and $12,000 cost-of-education allowance to the graduate institution. That support is for graduate study that leads to a research-based master’s or doctoral degree in a STEM field.

Zak Blumer received OSU’s Dean’s Distinguished University Fellowship, which provides three years of tuition waivers and financial support of $31,476 annually. OSU Fellows are selected on the basis of academic merit through university-wide competitions. In addition, Zak Blumer received honorable mention from the National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship Program competition.

Dr, Martin Kordesch, Professor of Physics & Astronomy, supervised both students during their four years in the Honors Tutorial College. Ari Blumer tested potential materials to be used in electrochemical supercapacitors. Zak Blumer studied ways to increase efficiency in solar thermal technologies. Dr. Hugh H. Richardson, Professor of Chemistry & Biochemistry, also mentored Zak Blumer.  Ari Blumer received advice and guidance from Dr. John Staser, an assistant professor in the Russ College of Engineeering and Technology.

“The most important factor in my success as an undergraduate was the research experience,” Zak Blumer says. “I was able to learn what it’s like to formulate a research question, develop a hypothesis, and conduct an experiment to test such a hypothesis. The experiences I had in the lab with these two professors (Kordesch and Richardson) have been immensely helpful. Their impact on my success at Ohio University cannot be overstated.”

Ari Blumer echoed his brother’s sentiment for the positive tutorial experience with Kordesch and Staser. “Dr. Kordesch and Dr. Staser have been incredible mentors, I wouldn’t be anywhere near where I am now without their guidance. And from the very beginning Dr. Kordesch helped me get involved in research and pursue things that I was genuinely interested in.”

One factor in the twins’ success, according to Kordesch, is the Honors Tutorial College program, which incorporates essential features of the traditional British tutorial system of undergraduate education developed over centuries at Oxford and Cambridge. “I had both Ari and Zak as tutorial students starting their freshman year.  I got to know them very well even before they started research on their projects.  The Honors Tutorial College program puts students in touch with faculty from the very beginning of their undergraduate careers. Tutorials have introduced me to outstanding students who have gone on to do excellent projects.”

Both students are excited to begin their graduate studies. “I’m really looking forward to developing a deeper and more sophisticated knowledge about materials and how they can be used in ways to benefit society,” Ari Blumer says. Zak Blumer adds: “I’m most looking forward to begin conducting graduate-level research in photovoltaics. This is a field that has had and will continue to have a positive impact on the world.”

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