Alexandra Brown named 2018 Hertz Fellow

Danielle Randall
March 26, 2018

Adapted from a March 26, 2018 Press Release from the Hertz Family Foundation.

Alexandra Brown, a first year graduate student in Professor Dan Suess' research group, has been chosen out of nearly 700 applicants as one of ten 2018 Fellows by the Fannie and John Hertz Foundation.

Brown hails from Dublin, California and received her undergraduate degree in chemistry from the University of California, Berkeley in 2017. As an undergraduate, she worked in Professor John Arnold’s group studying titanium-aluminum heterobimetallics supported by bridging hydride ligands.  Her work expanded the classes of reactions these complexes are known to undergo and provided insight into titanium-doped aluminum hydrogen storage materials. This project led to her interest in understanding the often-complicated electronic structure of multimetallic complexes. Brown's current research is focused on the reactivity and electronic structure of synthetic metal-chalcogenide clusters, with a particular interest in iron-sulfur clusters. In biological systems, these clusters catalyze synthetically challenging reactions such as the reduction of dinitrogen to ammonia. She is interested in understanding the mechanism of these reactions and in gleaning electronic structure information which may be used to rationally design new catalysts for carrying out these reactions industrially.

The Fannie and John Hertz Foundation is a not-for-profit organization dedicated to empowering America’s most brilliant minds in science, mathematics and engineering. The 2018 class includes six women, the highest proportion of women of any class in the Foundation’s history, with Fellows’ research focusing on chemistry, electrical engineering, computer science, mathematics and physics.

"The 2018 fellowship awardees are an outstanding group of students, with diverse talents and an extraordinary drive to reach new heights in scientific research and technological innovation,"said Robbee Baker Kosak, president, Fannie and John Hertz Foundation."We are delighted to welcome these six women and four men to the Hertz Community. They join the hundreds of Hertz Fellows who are leading important breakthroughs and developing some of the most important scientific and engineering solutions to challenges in our world today. We look forward to seeing what these 10 women and men contribute to that goal in the coming years."

The Hertz Foundation is the only organization in the United States that supports PhD candidates for a full five years at one of the Foundation’s numerous partner institutions and grants students total research freedom, ensuring that each Fellow is able to pursue the most compelling, cutting-edge research. Members of Hertz's 2018 class hail from eight different states and nine different undergraduate schools. Several of this year’s Fellows have already published papers in disciplines from biological chemistry to quantum computing.

"Hertz Fellows do extraordinary work and are truly changing the world, so our new Fellows are in fine company," said Dr. David Galas, Hertz Fellow, chairman of The Fannie and John Hertz Foundation's board of directors and Principal Scientist at the Pacific Northwest Research Institute. "The fellowship interviewers were amazed by the brilliance and creativity of these young people. I am confident their careers will have great impact on American and global science and technology."

The Hertz Foundation’s 2018 Fellows currently attend leading U.S. universities and will pursue their PhD work at some of America’s most prestigious universities.