Claremont, Calif. (April 18, 2017)—Pitzer College senior Lillian Horin ’17 and alumni Brian Cohn ’15, Kristin Dobbin ’13 and Samuel “Yoni” Rubin ’15 have been awarded 2017 National Science Foundation (NSF) Graduate Research Fellowships. The NSF Graduate Research Fellowship Program selects outstanding college seniors or recent graduates who are pursuing research-based master’s and doctoral degrees in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) and “have demonstrated their potential for significant research achievements in STEM or STEM education,” according to NSF’s website.
Cohn, Horin and Rubin all conducted research as undergraduates at the W.M. Keck Science Department of Pitzer, Claremont McKenna and Scripps Colleges.
Brian Cohn ’15, who earned a degree in computational biology from Pitzer, has been awarded an NSF graduate research fellowship to support his work in computer science at the University of Southern California, where he is currently pursuing a PhD. Cohn’s research focuses on how musculoskeletal control works across health and disease. Designing models, building prototypes and conducting dissections are all part of the scientific work he uses to help understand neuromuscular phenomena. As an undergraduate, Cohn conducted research with Assistant Professor of Biology Lars Schmitz at the W.M. Keck Science Department and presented their findings at national scientific conferences.
Kristin Dobbin ’13, who majored in environmental analysis at Pitzer, has been awarded an NSF fellowship for her graduate research on the role of special drinking water districts in California water management and water justice. Dobbin is currently the regional water management coordinator at Community Water Center in Visalia, CA, where she works with unincorporated disadvantaged communities in California’s Central Valley to promote access to water as a human right. She plans to pursue a graduate degree at the University of California, Davis. At Pitzer, Dobbin served as president of the College’s Eco Center and as a manager at the student-run Shakedown Café. She was also awarded an environmental Udall Scholarship during her junior year and a Fulbright US Student Program research fellowship to Honduras during her senior year.
Lillian Horin ’17, a biology major, has received an NSF fellowship to support her graduate work at Harvard University, where she plans to study the relationship between metabolic dysregulation and (epi)genetic regulation. While at Pitzer, Horin earned widespread recognition for her scientific research and academic excellence. This year, she won a Ford Foundation Predoctoral Fellowship as well as the NSF fellowship; last year, she was awarded a Barry Goldwater Scholarship and was selected to participate in the Howard Hughes Medical Institute’s Exceptional Research Opportunities Program. She has served as a summer research assistant at Harvard Medical School and at the University of California, Merced. Horin has won numerous awards at scientific conferences and has served as the vice president of The Claremont Colleges’ chapter of the Society for Advancement of Chicanos/Hispanics and Native Americans in Science. A first-generation college student from Los Angeles, Horin is committed to improving retention of underrepresented students in the science fields.
Samuel “Yoni” Rubin ’15, who double majored in physics and molecular biology and minored in chemistry at Pitzer, received an NSF fellowship for his research at Stanford University on cell signaling mechanisms associated with the regulation of self-tolerance. He is also designing novel molecular tools that will help researchers study these pathways while pursuing his PhD in immunology at Stanford’s School of Medicine. During his time at Pitzer, he earned honors in physics, won the Claremont Chaplain’s Outstanding Leadership Award for community service, received the Top Physical Sciences Thesis Award, and served as a Howard Hughes Medical Institute undergraduate research fellow at Pomona College and at the W.M. Keck Science Department for two years.
The NSF Graduate Research Fellowship Program aims to help ensure the vitality of the human resource base of science and engineering in the US and reinforce its diversity. The program, which provides three years of support for its fellows, has a long history of selecting recipients who go on to achieve high levels of success in their academic and professional careers, according to the fellowship’s website. Past fellows include numerous Nobel Prize winners, former US Secretary of Energy Steven Chu and Google founder Sergey Brin.