Students at OGI School of Science and Engineering Receive Prestigious Awards and Scholarships

08/01/02    Portland, Ore.

The following graduate students at OHSU's OGI School of Science & Engineering have recently received prestigious awards and scholarships:

Illa Amerson, a doctoral student in the Department of Environmental Science and Engineering, is the American Geophysical Union's (AGU) 2002-2003 Congressional Science Fellow. One scientist is selected annually for this prestigious honor. Amerson is the AGU's 26th fellow and will spend a year working on legislative and policy issues for a member or committee on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C. Amerson is working with associate professor Richard Johnson, Ph.D., to investigate the environmental impact of the gasoline additive methyl tert-butyl ether, a pervasive groundwater contaminant. Amerson lives in Portland.

Rene Bissonette, a master's student in the Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, has received the Charles Patrick Memorial Scholarship for spring quarter 2002. The scholarship fund was established in memory of Charles Patrick, founder of Patrick Lumber Company, and is for students from Oregon. Bissonette works with research associate professor Michiko Nakano, Ph.D., studying the genetics and biology of a complex bacterium called Bacillus subtilis. She holds a bachelor's degree from Portland State University and worked as a research technician at OHSU before entering the School of Science & Engineering. Bissonette lives in Hillsboro.

Hema Narasimhadevara, a master's student in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, and Sourabh Ahuja, a master's student in the Department of Computer Science and Engineering, have received scholarships from the Dolf Dolfson Memorial Fund. The Dolf Dolfson Memorial Fund was established by OGI School employees in memory of Dolf Dolfson, a longtime member of the information technology staff who died in 1998. Students are selected based on academic achievement. Narasimhadevara, a native of India with a bachelor's degree in engineering from Osmania University, Hyderabad, India, entered the School of Science & Engineering in fall 2001. She is studying neural network computer systems with professor Daniel Hammerstrom, Ph.D., and lives in Beaverton. Ahuja is also a native of India, with a bachelor's degree in computer engineering from the University of Pune. He enrolled in OGI in fall 2001, and is working on a network security project with assistant professor Wu-Chang Feng, Ph.D. Ahuja lives in Beaverton.

Rudolph van der Merwe, a doctoral student in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, and Garnet Erdakos, a doctoral student in the Department of Environmental Science and Engineering, have received the Paul Clayton Student Achievement Awards. The awards were created in 2002 in memory of longtime professor and vice provost Paul Clayton, who died in December 2001. Student winners are selected by local high-tech executives based on their research, scholarship, leadership and service. Van der Merwe arrived at the School of Science & Engineering in 1998 from Cape Town, South Africa, to study for his doctorate on a Fulbright Scholarship. With Associate Professor Eric Wan, Ph.D., he is exploring ways to improve machine learning to create adaptive software that can be used to make decisions under uncertain conditions, predict future events, classify and find hidden patterns in noisy data, and lead to the development of autonomous agents (robots and programs) that can learn from, reason about and act upon the real world. Van der Merwe lives in Portland. Erdakos is examining the microscopic particles in the atmosphere that contribute to smog, haze and climate change in the lab of professor James Pankow, Ph.D. Originally from Chicago, she also received her master's degree at the School of Science & Engineering. Erdakos lives in Portland.

ABOUT THE OGI SCHOOL OF SCIENCE & ENGINEERING The OGI School of Science & Engineering (formerly the Oregon Graduate Institute of Science & Technology) became one of four specialty schools of Oregon Health & Science University in 2001. The school has 63 faculty and more than 300 master's and doctoral students in five academic departments.

The OGI School awards more than 20 percent of Oregon's advanced high-tech degrees. In 2000, OGI graduated more than half of the Ph.D.'s in Oregon in electrical engineering and computer engineering combined, the two fields most relevant to the high-tech industry.

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