Today, Western Digital and the governments of Australia, India, Japan, and the United States, alongside fellow founding corporate sponsors Accenture, Boeing, Blackstone, Google and Mastercard, jointly announced the Quad Fellowship's first cohort of 100 remarkable science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) graduate students from the Quad countries. The Quad Fellowship, operated and administered by Schmidt Futures, is a first-of-its-kind scholarship designed to spur scientific and technological innovation while building ties among and empowering the next generation of STEM leaders.
"Western Digital is proud to support building the next generation of technologists through the Quad Fellowship," said Christine Bastian, Executive Vice President and Chief People Officer at Western Digital. "These students will have the opportunity to tackle problems of global importance with extraordinary solutions that creatively bridge STEM with social impact. We applaud this inaugural class and look forward to seeing them make a difference in our world for years to come."
The inaugural cohort of Quad Fellows is a diverse and interdisciplinary group of scientists, technologists, engineers, and mathematicians. This dynamic pool of gifted graduates studied at 69 undergraduate institutions across the four Quad countries, and more than fifty percent of Fellows identify as women or non-binary. They are focusing on a broad spectrum of disciplines, including astronomy, biology, engineering, computer science, mathematics, oceanography, and many more. The cohort's areas of specialization are diverse and impact-oriented, including sustainable energy grids, solid-state batteries, environmental protection and restoration, 5G and 6G telecommunications, bias-reducing artificial intelligence used in a variety of applications from healthcare imaging to origami-modeled robotics, molecular, chemical, and synthetic biology, hypersonics, quantum and optical computing, cryptography, and neuroimaging.
Quad Fellows are committed to advancing innovation with a lens of positive social impact and collaboration in the private, public, and academic sectors in their nation and among the Quad countries. The Fellows will receive access to unparalleled benefits as part of a $10M financial commitment from a group of industry-leading corporate sponsors with track records of driving innovation and technological advancement. These benefits include funding, cross-cultural exchange through cohort-wide trips, mentorship, and participation in regular virtual and in-person workshops on various themes, including the intersection of STEM and society, ethics and innovation, and emerging technologies.
This year's class of Quad Fellows passed a rigorous selection process designed and operated by Schmidt Futures. Over 3,200 completed applications were submitted for consideration. These written applications were assessed for their academic excellence by renowned academics from across the Quad countries in applicants' fields. Over 100 professors across 15 STEM disciplines from the Quad countries evaluated applications for their academic rigor and intellectual promise. Fewer than eight percent of applicants advanced to academic interviews conducted by experts in each discipline, which further assessed candidates' curiosity and academic abilities. Fewer than five percent of all applicants advanced to the final-round panel interviews, conducted by C-suite executives, tenured professors, non-profit Executive Directors, government ministers and senior-level officials, and other senior leaders from the Quad countries. Panel interviews assessed finalists' interest in the intersection of STEM and society, capacity to bridge differences, and an orientation toward results.
The inaugural cohort of Quad Fellows includes two Rhodes Scholars, a Schwarzman Scholar, a National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellow, a Barry Goldwater Scholar, a Commonwealth Scholar, a Knight-Hennessy Scholar, and a New Colombo Plan Scholar.
Alongside the four Quad countries, Accenture, Blackstone, Boeing, Google, Mastercard, Western Digital, and Schmidt Futures are excited to announce the following individuals as this year's cohort:
|Ganesh Srinivas Chelluboyina
|Mohammad Aamir Sohail
||Nandini Periyapalayam Sekar
|Leon Di Stefano
|Sergio Garcia Joya
||William Rodriguez Jimenez
||Teja Venkatesa Perumal
||Xaimarie Hernandez Cruz
The first cohort of Quad Fellows will study in the United States beginning in August 2023.
"It is my great privilege to join the four Quad leaders in welcoming our inaugural cohort of Quad Fellows," said Tony Woods, Executive Director of the Quad Fellowship. "The work that our Fellows do during and after their time as Quad Fellows will lead to bold, new inventions and generational breakthroughs in STEM that will enrich the globe for generations to come. At the same time, our scholars will help to build deeper ties between our four nations and renew the power and possibility of collaborative democracy."
An International Advisory Board composed of leaders from academia, government, business, and civil society has provided guidance on Quad Fellowship selection, programming, and immersion experiences. Members include Ambassador Richard Court, former Australian Ambassador to Japan; Ambassador Navtej Sarna, former Indian Ambassador to the United States; Ambassador Kazuyoshi Umemoto, president of The Japan Foundation; Secretary Ash Carter, former US Secretary of Defense (in memoriam); Professor Michelle Simmons, Director of the Center of Excellence for Quantum Computation and Communication Technology at the University of New South Wales; Professor Ajay Kumar Sood, Principal Scientific Adviser to the Government of India; Professor Yoichiro Matsumoto, Science and Technology Advisor to Japan's Minister of Foreign Affairs; Dr. Shirley Malcom, Senior Advisor and Director of SEA Change at the American Association for the Advancement of Science; Professor Carla Brodley, Dean of Inclusive Computing at Northeastern University; Paul Daugherty, Group Chief Executive – Technology and Chief Technology Officer at Accenture; Amy Stursberg, Board Chair, Blackstone Charitable Foundation and CEO of Schwarzman Scholars and the Stephen A. Schwarzman Foundation; Naveed Hussain, Chief Engineer, Boeing Defense, Space & Security; Ambassador Karan Bhatia, Global Head of Government Affairs and Public Policy at Google; Michael Fraccaro, Chief People Officer at Mastercard; and Christine Bastian, Executive Vice President and Chief People Officer at Western Digital. Additional members of the International Advisory Board will be announced in the weeks and months ahead.
About Western Digital
Western Digital is on a mission to unlock the potential of data by harnessing the possibility to use it. With Flash and HDD franchises, underpinned by advancements in memory technologies, we create breakthrough innovations and powerful data storage solutions that enable the world to actualize its aspirations. Core to our values, we recognize the urgency to combat climate change and have committed to ambitious carbon reduction goals approved by the Science Based Targets initiative. Learn more about Western Digital and the Western Digital®, SanDisk® and WD® brands at www.westerndigital.com.
About Schmidt Futures
Schmidt Futures bets early on exceptional people making the world better. Founded by Eric and Wendy Schmidt, Schmidt Futures is a philanthropic initiative that brings talented people together in networks to prove out their ideas and solve hard problems in science and society. To learn more about our method and the diverse types of capital and tools that we deploy, visit http://www.schmidtfutures.com/.
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