JSA Announces Nine New Graduate Fellows for 2021-2022

Nine graduate students have been awarded fellowships to conduct research at Jefferson Lab
by the lab’s management & operating contractor

NEWPORT NEWS, VA – Jefferson Science Associates (JSA) has announced the award of nine new graduate fellowships to doctoral students for the 2021-2022 academic year. The fellowships will support students’ advanced studies at their universities and research at the U.S. Department of Energy’s Thomas Jefferson National Accelerator Facility. Jefferson Lab is a nuclear physics research laboratory managed and operated by JSA, a joint venture between SURA and PAE.

The 2021-2022 JSA/Jefferson Lab graduate fellowship recipients include:

  • Mitchell Kerver, Old Dominion University, with Advisor Charles Hyde.     
  • MD Habib Islam, Old Dominion University, with Advisor Raul Briceno.    
  • Felipe Ortega-Gama, William & Mary with Advisor Jozef Dudek.        
  • Ezekiel Wertz, William & Mary with Advisor David Armstrong. 
  • Abishek Karki, Mississippi State University with Advisor Dipangkar Dutta.        
  • Andrew Smith, Duke University with Advisor Haiyan Gao.        
  • Jesse Hernandez, Florida State University with Advisor Volker Crede.
  • Phoebe Sharp, George Washington University with Advisor Axel Schmidt.  
  • Yuxun Guo, University of Maryland with Advisor Xiangdong Ji.

Ortega-Gama and Smith are repeat winners. They have just completed their 2020-2021 academic year at the laboratory.

“We are excited to welcome these young researchers to participate in Jefferson Lab’s research programs. These fellowships allow students to work closely with their mentors and collaborators, and their work makes real contributions to research while they are pursuing their academic careers,” said Jefferson Lab Deputy Director for Science & Technology Robert McKeown.

Fellowship recipients are chosen based on the quality of their research proposals, their academic standing, and references. Students will continue their coursework while enhancing their academic experience with direct interactions and participation with lab mentors and collaborating scientists.

The selection committee was chaired by Edward Brash, a physics professor at Christopher Newport University.

“Once again this year, the quality of the proposals from all of the applicants was extremely high, and because of this, we faced a very difficult task in coming to a decision on the final list of awardees,” Brash said. “The successful applicants are a group of truly impressive young scientists, and this speaks to the groundbreaking work that is being carried out at Jefferson Lab by the user community.”

The SURA Board of Trustees first established the fellowship program in 1989. The program, now supported by the JSA Initiatives Fund, contributes to each student’s research assistant stipend. All fellowship recipients attend universities that are members of SURA, a consortium of more than 60 leading research universities. Since the program’s inception, 244 fellowships have been awarded to students from 23 different SURA member universities. SURA built and operated Jefferson Lab, before becoming a partner of Jefferson Science Associates.

Contact: Kandice Carter, Jefferson Lab Communications Office, kcarter@jlab.org


Jefferson Science Associates, LLC, manages and operates the Thomas Jefferson National Accelerator Facility, or Jefferson Lab, for the U.S. Department of Energy's Office of Science.

DOE’s Office of Science is the single largest supporter of basic research in the physical sciences in the United States and is working to address some of the most pressing challenges of our time. For more information, visit https://energy.gov/science.