Both provide tuition and living stipends that will allow Maia to pursue doctoral studies. The NSF Graduate Research Fellowship Program, which recognizes and supports outstanding graduate students in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics disciplines, provides three years of financial support (a $34,000 annual stipend and $12,000 cost-of-education to the graduate institution). Maia was one of 2000 students funded out of 16,500 applicants, and one of only 40 chosen between applicants based in New York.
The GEM Fellowship, which is intended to increase the number of minority students pursuing doctoral degrees in the natural sciences (including computer science), likewise covers tuition and provides a living stipend. In addition, GEM promotes opportunities for individuals to enter industry and arranges paid summer internships for GEM fellows.
Neither fellowship ties Maia to a particular research path, giving him the freedom and flexibility to change his research focus, an important consideration since Maia has yet to begin his graduate studies and is interested in computational mechanics, which models the dynamics of physical objects and has applications in both engineering and computer graphics.
He has a great start. As an undergraduate already pursuing research as part of the Columbia Computer Graphics Group, Maia has been studying in particular contact mechanics, which concerns the principled treatment of interactions that occur on surfaces of bodies that collide or are in contact with one another. Maia is working to develop new methods to compute friction and collision contacts to more realistically simulate dynamic physical phenomena at large scales, as in landslides for example. More than just visually representing such phenomena, Maia wants the simulations to incorporate real-world variables with enough levels of detail to reveal patterns in the underlying physics. In so doing, he hopes to inspire work in other branches of engineering.
Maia will complete his undergraduate degrees this May before beginning his GEM summer internship at Adobe Research in Seattle. After a year of travel and industry work, he will return to Columbia to start his PhD studies in Computer Science under the direction of Eitan Grinspun and Changxi Zheng.
Dean Boyce's statement on amicus brief filed by President Bollinger
President Bollinger announced that Columbia University along with many other academic institutions (sixteen, including all Ivy League universities) filed an amicus brief in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of New York challenging the Executive Order regarding immigrants from seven designated countries and refugees. Among other things, the brief asserts that “safety and security concerns can be addressed in a manner that is consistent with the values America has always stood for, including the free flow of ideas and people across borders and the welcoming of immigrants to our universities.”
This recent action provides a moment for us to collectively reflect on our community within Columbia Engineering and the importance of our commitment to maintaining an open and welcoming community for all students, faculty, researchers and administrative staff. As a School of Engineering and Applied Science, we are fortunate to attract students and faculty from diverse backgrounds, from across the country, and from around the world. It is a great benefit to be able to gather engineers and scientists of so many different perspectives and talents – all with a commitment to learning, a focus on pushing the frontiers of knowledge and discovery, and with a passion for translating our work to impact humanity.
I am proud of our community, and wish to take this opportunity to reinforce our collective commitment to maintaining an open and collegial environment. We are fortunate to have the privilege to learn from one another, and to study, work, and live together in such a dynamic and vibrant place as Columbia.
Mary C. Boyce
Dean of Engineering
Morris A. and Alma Schapiro Professor