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The Fannie and John Hertz Foundation Announces Fifteen 2014 Fellows in the Applied Physical, Biological, and Engineering Sciences

LIVERMORE, CA--(Marketwired - April 10, 2014) - Dr. Jay Davis, President of the Fannie and John Hertz Foundation today announced the names of 15 men and women chosen as 2014 Hertz Fellows. This year, eight women and seven men will receive the Hertz Fellowship. Each is awarded a stipend and full tuition support for up to five years of graduate study in the applied physical, biological and engineering sciences. The 15 new Fellows were chosen from nearly 800 applicants.

Dr. Davis stated that the Hertz Fellowship is, "among the oldest and most coveted awards in science and engineering graduate studies, and arguably the most prestigious academic award available in these areas to American college graduates." Established in 1957, the award was created by John Hertz, an entrepreneur and investor who came to this country in poverty as a young boy from Hungary in 1884. Hertz founded Yellow Cab, Hertz Car Rental, and what later became Checker Motors. He sold his interests in all of these to General Motors in the 1920s and went on their Board. Hertz left the bulk of his wealth for the establishment of the Fannie and John Hertz Foundation. Originally intended to provide scholarships for undergraduate engineers, the awards became graduate fellowships in 1963 to include the applied sciences as well as engineering.

The 2014 Hertz Fellows are: William E. Allen, Stanford University; Ashvin Bashyam, University of Texas at Austin; Matthew Brown, Arizona State University; Emily Davis, Stanford University; Gene Katsevich, Princeton University; Katherine Lawrence, Yale University; Ian McKay, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Emma Pierson, Stanford University; Elizabeth Qian, MIT; Andrew Rzeznik, MIT; Judith Savitskaya, University of California, Berkeley; Katharine Schutz, MIT; Stephanie Tzouanas, Rice University; Laura Herlant, Carnegie Mellon University; Asmamaw Wassie, MIT. 

In addition to receiving support for doctoral studies, every Hertz Fellow receives the benefit of belonging to the growing community of Hertz Fellows. Gathering in annual workshops and retreats, the Fellows inspire and learn from one another across generations and disciplines to further augment their powerful creativity and skills. "These associations endure for a lifetime," observed Dr. Davis, "and greatly enrich each Fellow, in turn enriching the nation as the Fellows collaborate."

Valued at more than a quarter million dollars per student, the Hertz Fellowship is also considered to be the nation's most generous graduate support. Key to its mission, the Hertz Foundation gives Fellows the "freedom to innovate" in their doctoral studies. They are not bound by traditional research funding restrictions or the funded projects of any faculty member. Hertz Fellows are free to pursue their own ideas with complete financial independence, under the guidance of some of the country's finest professors and mentors.

Fellows are chosen for their intellect, their ingenuity and their potential to bring meaningful improvement to society. The rigorous selection process begins with a comprehensive written application, including four references. From a pool of nearly 800 applicants, the Foundation selects 150 candidates of exceptional creativity for a first round interview.

Each of the 150 is interviewed by one or two interviewers, most of who are themselves Hertz Fellows. This formal technical interview tests their knowledge of broad scientific principles. The Hertz Interview is the hallmark of the Hertz Foundation program. This face-to-face conversation identifies creativity in a way that test scores and GPAs do not reveal.

"We base our decisions on many criteria that are explored in the in-depth interview process," continued Dr. Davis. "The interview identifies those with exceptional creativity and the promise for innovative research. We select applicants who have great potential to impact and better the world."

From the first round interview, 50 Finalists are selected for a second round interview, delving more deeply into each candidate's creative expression and problem-solving abilities. After that phase, the interviewers meet to determine the candidates who best merit selection as Hertz Fellows. These are put before the Hertz Foundation Board of Directors for approval.

Over 50 years, the Hertz Foundation has awarded $200 million, present value, for the graduate education of 1169 Fellows in science and engineering fields. Those selected sign a pledge to give back to the country in time of great need. This pledge was established by John Hertz, who hoped that his legacy would foster the strength and security of his adopted nation. While many have served in the military, (three as General Officers), Hertz Fellows also serve to address great needs that include cyber security, the economy, the environment and human health, among others.

"For more than half a century," stated Dr. Davis, "Hertz Fellows have advanced the scientific, engineering and educational strength of the nation."

Beginning April 10, Dr. Davis may be reached for press and other inquiries at [email protected]. Katherine Young will be able to provide details on how to contact the Fellows and may be reached at [email protected]. Beginning April 10, questions can also be directed to Janice Odell at 925.353.2839 or [email protected]

Celebrating more than half a century of the Hertz Fellowship, the Hertz Foundation has fostered the scientific and engineering strength of the nation by finding the best and brightest students from those disciplines. During the past decade of applications, there has been a major shift of the candidates towards those who apply physical and computational tools to the problems of biomedicine and health. Significantly, another shift of the Hertz Foundation has been to support Hertz Fellows to build the vibrant Hertz Fellows Community. All ages gather in annual workshops and retreats to inspire one another and collaborate across generations and disciplines for innovation that further augments their powerful contribution. Hertz Fellows pursue their own ideas with complete financial independence, under the guidance of some of the country's finest professors and mentors. Fellows are chosen for their intellect, their ingenuity and their potential to bring meaningful improvement to society. The highly competitive selection process includes a comprehensive written application, four references, and two rounds of technical interviews by recognized leaders in applied physical, biological and engineering sciences. We seek applicants with exceptional personal creativity and great promise for innovative research. Throughout five decades, their impact has fulfilled that promise. They are the leaders who produce advances in science, medicine, technology, business, academia and government.

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