The First Student to Receive a Quantum Physics Fellowship

May 1, 2023

The new Myriam Sarachik Flatiron Fellowship brings Jaylyn C. Umana to the Graduate Center.

Jaylyn C Umana headshot
Jaylyn C. Umana will start a Physics Ph.D. at the Graduate Center later this year.

The Flatiron Institute’s Center for Computational Quantum Physics (CCQ) announced today that incoming Graduate Center Physics Ph.D. student Jaylyn C. Umana is the first recipient of its Myriam Sarachik Flatiron Fellowship.

Through the generous fellowship, Umana, a senior at Columbia University studying physics and mathematics, will receive full financial support to pursue a Ph.D. at the Graduate Center, a CCQ mentor, and a workspace in CCQ for up to six years. He will have the opportunity to work with CCQ researchers who are pushing the boundaries of quantum mechanics as they seek to understand and control the behavior of materials and molecules.

Learn More About the Ph.D. Program in Physics

The fellowship is named for the experimental physicist Myriam Sarachik, a former professor of physics at The City College of New York who, in the face of gender discrimination and significant personal obstacles, made significant breakthroughs in low-temperature solid-state physics. It is part of a suite of fellowships intended to bring outstanding young scientists to New York City and nurture collaboration within New York City’s quantum physics community.

“By providing universities with a mechanism for recruiting excellent students to New York while increasing the size of their graduate programs, the program will strengthen the local quantum community, increase links between the universities and CCQ, and introduce more people to CCQ’s unique approach to quantum research,” said Andy Millis, co-director of CCQ.

Umana began his scientific career in high school, working on condensed matter research on bulk transition metal oxides with Professor Jack W. Simonson of the State University of New York at Farmingdale. For his Ph.D. research, Umana is broadly interested in condensed matter theory and the development of computational methods.

“To me, receiving this fellowship means that people actually listened to my ambitions, took into consideration what I thought to be interesting research, and presented me with the opportunity to pursue those ambitions and to do that research,” said Umana, who for years had been interested in one day working at the CCQ.

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