Prestigious Hertz Foundation 2017 Fellows Announced

March 22, 2017
Hertz Staff
Livermore, Calif

The Fannie and John Hertz Foundation, a not-for-profit organization dedicated to empowering America’s most brilliant minds, today announced the 2017 recipients of the prestigious Hertz Fellowship. The 12 newest Hertz Fellows were chosen from more than 700 applicants interested in pursuing graduate work in applied physical and biological sciences, mathematics and engineering. The Hertz Foundation is the only organization in the United States that supports PhD candidates for a full five years at one of the Foundation’s numerous partner institutions and grants students total research freedom, ensuring that each Fellow is able to pursue the most compelling, cutting-edge research.

“The 2017 Fellow class is among the best and brightest we’ve ever seen, and we are proud to welcome them to the Hertz Community,” said Robbee Baker Kosak, president, The Fannie and John Hertz Foundation. “Hertz Fellows are developing solutions to issues of worldwide importance, from helping solve global health crises to addressing climate change and energy consumption. We look forward to seeing our new Fellows make similarly outstanding contributions as they pursue their research in the coming years.”

The Fannie and John Hertz Foundation is the legacy of John Hertz, a Hungarian immigrant who made his fortune by capitalizing on the entrepreneurship prospects in the budding automotive industry. He believed that innovative and entrepreneurial solutions were vital to the strength, security and prosperity of our nation—and began the Foundation to support exceptionally talented students expected to have the greatest impact on the world’s problems. Today, the Hertz Fellow community is one of the most influential groups of leaders, innovators, engineers, mathematicians and scientists in the American corporate, university, national laboratory and military sectors.

The Hertz Foundation’s 2017 Fellows currently attend leading U.S. universities and will pursue their PhD work at some of America’s most prestigious universities.

The 2017 Hertz Fellowship recipients are:

Rebecca Carlson – Rebecca is a senior in chemical engineering at Michigan State University. She will pursue her PhD in bioengineering at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). Rebecca lived in Italy before moving to the United States when she was in high school.

Jordan Doman – Jordan is a senior studying chemistry at the University of Pennsylvania. She will pursue her PhD in either biological chemistry or chemical biology. Jordan is from Monroeville, Pennsylvania.

Alyssa Ferris – Alyssa is a PhD student at Stanford University. They will continue to pursue their PhD at Stanford in bioengineering. Alyssa is from Raleigh, North Carolina.

Ofer Grossman – Ofer is currently a senior at MIT. He will pursue his PhD in theoretical computer science. Ofer was born in Israel and has lived in the United States since the age of 12.

Linus Hamilton – Linus is a graduate student at MIT. He will continue to pursue his PhD at MIT in applied mathematics. Linus is from College Park, Maryland.

Preston Kemeny – Preston is a graduate student at the California Institute of Technology (Caltech). He will continue to pursue his PhD at Caltech in geochemistry. Preston is from Garrison, New York.

Ethan Lake – Ethan is an undergraduate at the University of Utah. He will pursue his PhD in physics. Ethan is from Morristown, New Jersey.

Hannah Larson – Hannah is a senior studying mathematics at Harvard University. She will pursue her PhD in mathematics. Hannah is from Eugene, Oregon.

Lila Neahring – Lila is a graduate student at the University of California at San Francisco (UCSF). She will continue to pursue her PhD at UCSF in synthetic biology. Lila is from Oregon.

Christopher Panuski – Christopher is a senior midshipman at the United States Naval Academy. He will pursue his PhD in applied physics. Christopher is from Davidson, North Carolina.

Suhas Rao – Suhas is an MD/PhD student at the Stanford University School of Medicine. He will continue to pursue his PhD in quantitative biology at Stanford. Suhas is from Massachusetts.

Andrey Sushko – Andrey is currently a first year graduate student at Harvard. He will continue to pursue his PhD at Harvard in experimental and applied physics. Andrey was born in St. Petersburg, Russia and grew up in the United Kingdom before moving to the United States in 2009.

“Hertz Fellows as a group are remarkably creative and motivated, with deep interests and a drive to achieve the extraordinary in their fields of research,” said Dr. David Galas, Hertz Fellow, chairman of The Fannie and John Hertz Foundation’s board of directors and preeminent leader in biology and medicine. “It’s the nature of research that the outcome is always unknown, but that imagination and drive make the difference, and that’s why it is so important to encourage and support these brilliant young people. I have no doubt that this group of new Hertz Fellows will do great things.”

The Hertz Foundation recognizes the critical role the PhD plays in the process of innovation and is driven by its commitment to ensure America continues to be the world leader in technological and scientific advancement. Over the past 60 years the Hertz Foundation has invested more than $200 million (current value) in nearly 1,200 Hertz Fellows chosen for qualities that are essential to transforming research and discovery into life-changing innovation, including exceptional intelligence, creativity and strength of character. The Hertz Fellowship is valued at more than $250,000 and provides Fellows with the opportunity to partake in unique learning experiences with alumni scholars, entrepreneurs and scientific leaders, exposing Fellows to a variety of scientific fields and opening the door for cross-disciplinary collaborations. To date, Hertz Fellows collectively possess more than 3,000 patents, have founded more than 200 companies and have received more than 200 major national and international awards, including Nobel Prizes and a Turing Award.