Graduate Student Secures Prestigious IBM Masters Fellowship

Posted April 02, 2024, 1:27PM

Fellowship recognizes and supports exceptional master’s student studies involving artificial intelligence and additional cutting-edge technologies

North Carolina Central University (NCCU) graduate student Obed Keelson has been awarded an IBM Masters Fellowship, recognizing his exceptional contributions to researching the application of promising and disruptive technologies such as artificial intelligence (AI).

Now in its fourth year, the IBM Masters Fellowship program is granting $11,000 each of the 18 master’s degree students from 10 historically Black colleges and universities (HBCUs) for their work in 2023. In addition to financial support, IBM is offering recipients the invaluable opportunity to collaborate directly with IBM experts, particularly those specializing in AI, to receive guidance and coaching on their research endeavors.

Keelson will study how to make two-dimensional semiconductors better for the development of fast and efficient electronic devices.

“I am deeply honored to receive this prestigious award from IBM. This generous support will serve as a powerful catalyst, propelling my research at NCCU,” he said. “The exceptional environment and resources at NCCU have undoubtedly prepared me for this success. I am incredibly grateful for this opportunity to contribute to groundbreaking discoveries.”

Eligible fellowship candidates are enrolled in U.S. arts or science master’s degree programs preparing students for various fields, with a special emphasis on technologies such as AI, hybrid cloud, cybersecurity and semiconductors.

“By facilitating the development of more efficient and faster electronic components with precisely tuned bandgaps, Obed’s project has the potential to unlock cutting-edge capabilities in fields such as computing, telecommunications and energy efficiency,” said Fei Yan, Ph.D., professor of chemistry and biochemistry at NCCU.

The majority of this year’s IBM Masters Fellowship award recipients are focusing on AI-related projects, exploring its potential applications in various domains, including transportation, air quality, natural resource management, materials science, civic governance and HR processes.

“Congratulations to NCCU and Obed Keelson on being recognized by IBM’s Masters Fellowship in their quest for excellence and innovation,” said Lydia Logan, IBM vice president of global education and workforce development. “These scholars are researching the application of important technologies like AI to numerous aspects of life and science. We are honored to be able to support exceptional students in their education journeys and career pursuits.”

IBM’s Masters Fellowship program is just one aspect of the company's social impact efforts that support education and readiness for STEM careers, particularly those that relate to AI. For instance, IBM works with schools to provide resources such as IBM SkillsBuild, giving eligible students and faculty free access to online STEM coursework, credentials, technology, live training events, lectures, and coaching.

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