COSAM News Articles 2022 October Auburn physics student is selected for prestigious Department of Energy fellowship

Auburn physics student is selected for prestigious Department of Energy fellowship

Published: 10/18/2022

By: Maria Gebhardt

Patrick Gemperline has been selected as one of 44 outstanding graduate students in the nation by the Department of Energy’s Office of Science Graduate Student Research or SCGSR Program.

A native of Louisville, Kentucky, he graduated with triple degrees in physics, mathematics, and computer science from Xavier University in Cincinnati, Ohio.

He is currently a graduate student in Auburn University’s Department of Physics working in the Films, Interfaces, and Nanostructures of Oxides Lab (FINO).

Gemperline will spend four months at Oak Ridge National Laboratory from January through April of 2023. Then, he will return to the Plains to finish his degree and graduate with his doctorate in physics.

“My research focuses on utilizing advanced machine learning techniques to augment and improve existing data analysis methods,” Gemperline said. “My work during this fellowship will focus on constructing and training convolutional neural networks to extract additional information from reflected high energy electron diffraction data.”

“This work could provide a technique to extract more information than traditional methods and do so in real time,” he added.

At Oak Ridge National Laboratory, he will be working with Rama K. Vasudevan, group leader, Data NanoAnalytics Group at Center for Nanophase Materials Sciences.

“The Department of Energy is committed to growing the American science and technology workforce. SCGSRs are one way we contribute to nurturing the incredible talent and curiosity in students from all walks of life to meet the great scientific challenges of the world,” said Asmeret Asefaw Berhe, Director of the DOE Office of Science. “I know the future is bright for these students, and I’m honored that the Department of Energy can be a part of their stories.”

“I am excited about using the most modern machine learning techniques to work on a project that could have a lasting effect on my field,” Gemperline said.

He met his advisor Ryan Comes at a conference in 2017 and then spent that summer working with him in the FINO Lab. Gemperline then returned to Auburn as a graduate student after graduating with his undergraduate degrees.

“I really enjoyed working on the cutting-edge research the FINO Lab was doing and decided to return to work on my doctorate,” he said.

“Patrick is a highly motivated student pursuing challenging experimental and computational projects. It speaks to his dedication that he will be able to integrate machine learning research into his dissertation, which is an area that goes beyond my expertise. The SCGSR will allow him to work with some of the best researchers in the world to achieve the project goals,” Comes said.

After graduation, Gemperline is looking forward to pursuing a career as a researcher in either a national lab or industry.

“In physics, we are at the forefront of innovative research and earning a doctoral degree in physics gives me the skills and abilities needed for a rewarding research career,” Gemperline said.

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