Slidell junior wins Barry M. Goldwater scholarship
BATON ROUGE – LSU Honors College student and Stamps Scholar Brianna Robertson of Slidell, La., has been named a 2020 Barry M. Goldwater Scholar.
Robertson is a junior studying physics in the College of Science and computer engineering in the College of Engineering. Robertson secured one of the 482 scholarships, awarded from a pool of 1,300+ applicants, at over 460 institutions. She will receive a scholarship of up to $7,500 from the Barry Goldwater Scholarship Foundation to pursue undergraduate research in a STEM field.
“We are proud to have Brianna Robertson as part of our LSU family, and we congratulate her on being awarded a prestigious Goldwater Scholarship,” said LSU Interim President Tom Galligan. “We commend Brianna for her impressive academic and research achievements thus far at LSU, and we can’t wait to see where her continued work in STEM takes her in the future.”
Robertson’s research experience began during her freshman year, with a push from the Ogden Honors College where she was encouraged to participate in undergraduate research. In her sophomore year, her mentor, Jin-Woo Choi in the Division of Electrical and Computer Engineering, supported her involvement in his lab, and encouraged her to apply to an NSF International Research Experience for Students program in Seoul, South Korea.
In Seoul, Robertson worked in a cancer research laboratory where she crafted a project combining her interest in artificial intelligence with the need for smarter quantification processes for biological research.
While her upcoming research is not in the biological realm, she acknowledges that Choi’s lab group at LSU ultimately prepared her to step into stronger research roles, and the sum of those experiences led her to NASA.
Robertson was a spring 2020 Deep Learning intern at the NASA Glenn Research Center in Cleveland, where she worked on Space Communications using Artificial Intelligence. She has also been selected to intern at NASA Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Md., this summer.
Robertson seeks to develop an end-to-end automated system using neural networks for the physical layer of telecommunications in software-defined radios, which will lead to better in-space communication.
“I want to work in space communications to ensure that our space missions are heard loud and clear, and my current position at NASA Glenn Research Center is contributing smarter algorithms in order to better communicate in space,” she said about her research.
“We are delighted that Bri was recognized by the Goldwater Foundation this year,” said Drew Lamonica Arms, director of fellowship advising. “Her research in signal processing and algorithm development, as well as her interest in applying deep learning to space communications, has allowed Bri to pursue highly competitive internships at Seoul National University and NASA. She is poised to be at the forefront of AI research and development. Bri is an outstanding example of how far LSU undergraduate researchers can go to become leaders in their fields.”
After graduation, Robertson plans to pursue a Ph.D. in electrical engineering and perform industry-level research and development in space-related fields.