Trio of 2019 Brown Engineers Earn Fulbright Scholarships

Trio of EngineersThe prestigious award offers young scholars the opportunity to teach, study and pursue research internationally.


Thirty-six recent alumni and two graduate students have landed coveted Fulbright student scholarships to conduct research or teach abroad, including Brown Engineering's Isabelle Anthony Bauman '19, Hope McGovern '19 and Kit Sum Wu '19. As the flagship international exchange initiative sponsored by the U.S. government, the Fulbright Program is designed to build relationships between Americans and people in more than 140 countries across the globe to collectively address global challenges and work toward world peace.

Bauman will to pursue a Masters in Wind Energy at the Technical University in Denmark (DTU), beginning next fall. Through study and research with DTU Wind Energy's Section for Aerodynamic Design, she will enhance and apply her mechanical engineering skills to contribute to research aimed at improving the longevity and cost-effectiveness of offshore wind technology. Denmark is the optimal location to develop her expertise as an engineer and ambassador for wind energy, with Copenhagen on track to be the first carbon neutral capital city in 2025. DTU Wind Energy is world-leading both in size and international impact within wind energy research. The Wind Energy Masters' mechanics and aerodynamics program will allow Bauman to study advanced engineering concepts in fluid mechanics - her primary area of academic interest - alongside renewable energy finances and policy.

Bauman will work with Dr. Anthanasios Barlas, Senior Researcher at DTU Wind Energy and expert in active flow control for wind turbines, to investigate the mechanical and economic feasibility of a morphing aerodynamic flap mounted on the trailing edge of a wind turbine blade. This innovation aims to allow large offshore turbines to produce power at a greater range of wind speeds by locally reducing extreme and fatigue loads on the blades. By generating electricity at higher wind speeds, this research intends to drive down wind energy's levelized cost of electricity. This will build upon Bauman's undergraduate work in mechanical engineering and sustainable energy, and serve as a stepping stone to her future career in wind energy. Bauman served as president of Climate Action League (CAL) at Brown for three years, and was recently honored with the 2019 George H. Main '45 Award from Brown Engineering for her devotion to studies and the promise of future success in her field.

McGovern, who was awarded a Fulbright-Austrian Marshall Plan Research Award, will be studying in Vienna, Austria. She will research the optimization of subdiffraction light microscopy techniques in living tissues. She plans to utilize her optics engineering background to optimally design and apply the light patterns that are instrumental for a particular type of super-resolution imaging called Stimulated Emission Depletion Microscopy (STED). To complete this project, she will affiliate with the Institute of Science and Technology, Austria, where Professor Johann G. Danzl will supervise. Dr. Danzl's group specializes in STED microscopy. Through IST Austria, McGovern will have access to state-of-the-art cleanroom fabrication facilities and optical microscopes, both prerequisites to making progress in a field that requires ultra-precision engineering.

McGovern's background as a professional flutist and vocalist, as well as various performance experience as a keyboardist and guitarist, has allowed her to experience other cultures by entering into their musical traditions, and makes her uniquely suited to complete a research project in Austria for its unique combination of rich cultural history, longstanding musical tradition, and cutting-edge science and technology. While at Brown, her widespread interests spurred her to pursue coursework in history, music, and language alongside her concentration in Engineering Physics.

Wu will be working at Mechatronics Laboratory of the Kyoto University Graduate School of Engineering on the development of an aquatic robot to assist with search and rescue activities at the sites of urban flooding disasters. The Mechatronics Laboratory, led by Professor Fumitoshi Matsuno, conducts research in the application of robotics in disaster response among other topics, and has previously deployed its robots to inspect earthquake disaster sites. Wu's research will focus on a snake-like aquatic robot with a unique, patented propulsion mechanism. Wu's project in the Mechatronics Lab would be to create and test a path-planning algorithm to determine the best route for the robot through a set of obstacles. The intent of her research is to enable the robot to chart its own path through its surroundings based on information from sensors.

At Brown, Wu was engaged in research at the Fluid Dynamics Research Laboratory, where she studied bio-inspired flight control mechanisms. She recently received the Brown University Outstanding Senior Award in Mechanical Engineering, and she was also awarded the Brown University Distinguished Thesis Prize for her senior thesis on bio-inspired robotic flapping wings. During her time as an undergraduate, Wu served as president and part-time instructor for Brown University Aikido, attaining the rank of first degree black belt during her senior year. Working in Kyoto, a city with a rich history of Japanese art and culture, will be an excellent opportunity for her to develop as a martial artist as well as refine her skills as a researcher. Upon returning to the United States, Wu has plans to pursue her Ph.D. degree in Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering at Princeton University, where she will also continue her practice of Aikido.

Over the last three years, Brown University has produced the most Fulbright winners in the United States, and has consistently ranked in the top 10 of Fulbright's top-producing schools. Selection is made based on a variety of factors including the quality of application, personal qualifications and academic record, and the extent to which the candidate and the project will help advance the Fulbright mission.