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Newly minted alumna Sara Pohland (EE B.S. 2020) will be spending the summer as a technical intern for Northrop Grumman, then attending the University of California, Berkeley to start graduate studies this fall as an NSF Graduate Research Fellow. Pohland spent her final three semesters at Maryland working in the Intelligent Servosystems Laboratory with Professor P. S. Krishnaprasad (ECE/ISR). She has conducted research on human robot interaction and safety in reinforcement learning and intends to continue similar research while pursuing a Ph.D.

Pohland is in a cohort of 2,076 in this year’s NSF Graduate Research Fellowship Program, the country’s oldest fellowship program that directly supports graduate students attending accredited U.S. institutions in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) fields. Fellows benefit from a three-year annual stipend of $34,000 along with a $12,000 cost of education allowance for tuition and fees (paid to the institution), opportunities for international research and professional development, and the freedom to conduct their own research at any accredited U.S. institution of graduate education they choose.

It is anticipated that NSF Graduate Fellows will become knowledge experts who can contribute significantly to research, teaching, and innovations in science and engineering. These individuals are crucial to maintaining and advancing the nation's technological infrastructure and national security as well as contributing to the economic well-being of society at large.

Pohland is the recipient of ECE’s 2020 Department Service Award, presented to graduating seniors who have demonstrated exceptional leadership and service to their fellow students and the department. She graduated with a 4.0 GPA and was part of the Gemstone honors program, where she developed a haptic feedback system for robotic surgery, while serving as a teaching assistant and steering committee member for Gemstone courses. She was a part of ECE’s peer mentor leadership team and both the undergraduate and general academic affairs committees. In 2019 she was awarded the Clark School’s Dinah Berman Memorial Award. She spent the summer of 2019 in an NSF Research Experiences for Undergraduates program at UC Berkeley.

Pohland also served the university as a Math Success tutor, a Clark School Ambassador, and a member of Omicron Delta Kappa and Alpha Omega Epsilon. She also performed as a member of the university’s Gymkana troupe.



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May 23, 2020


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