Athena Receives Prestigious Stanford Energy Postdoctoral Fellowship

Georgia Institute of Technology School of Electrical and Computer Engineering Ph.D. candidate Fabia Farlin Athena received the prestigious Stanford Energy Postdoctoral Fellowship, becoming Georgia Tech’s first recipient of the distinction.

With climate change becoming one of the a defining issue of the 21st century, the transition to a low-carbon energy system will solve about three-fourths of the problem, according to the fellowship’s website. At the same time, the new energy system needs to be affordable, reliable, and available to the average person.

The three-year fellowship sponsored in Stanford’s Precourt Institute of Energy and Doerr School of Sustainability aims to identify, develop, and connect the next generation of energy leaders — from science and engineering to policy and economics — to translate theoretical climate change solutions into tangible realities.

At Stanford, Athena, who is advised by Eric M. Vogel in the School of Materials Science and Engineering, will work on emerging materials and devices for energy-efficient sustainable computing. She will be working with H.-S. Philip Wong, professor of electrical engineering, and Alberto Salleo, professor of materials science and engineering.

After being selected as a finalist, she presented her current Ph.D. research on adaptive oxide devices for energy-efficient computing, as well as her proposed research to the fellowship’s advisory board.

“It was an amazing experience to go through the selection process of writing the proposal and finally getting interviewed by the honorable advisory board,” Athena said. “It was humbling to get the opportunity to discuss my research with a person I have always looked up to in Professor Steven Chu, a Nobel Laureate in Physics and former U.S. Secretary of Energy!”

Athena is just one of 10 fellows selected globally this year. The fellowship provides her the opportunity to explore new and profound postdoctoral research that is distinct from her Ph.D. work.

“I am deeply grateful to my advisor Prof. Eric M. Vogel for his constant kind support throughout my Ph.D. and for believing in me,” Athena said. “He has been a pillar of constant support throughout my journey. I am also grateful to Prof. Samuel Graham for his kind constant support, including for this fellowship. I am thankful to my respected P.I.s at Stanford, Professor H.-S. Philip Wong, and Professor Alberto Salleo for their support of my proposal. I am also grateful to my respected mentors Prof. Suman Datta, Prof. William Alan Doolittle, Dr. Takashi Ando, and Dr. Vijay Narayanan for their kind support, advice, and opportunities. Finally, I would like to thank Georgia Tech ECE for providing the platform for learning, exploration, and collaboration.”

Before her time at Georgia Tech, Athena received her undergraduate degree in materials science and engineering from the Bangladesh University of Engineering and Technology. She then spent two semesters at Purdue University as a graduate researcher, where she collaborated with the Idaho National Lab on nuclear materials for next-generation energy.

Athena’s research has been recognized with the Georgia Tech ECE Ph.D. Fellowship, 2022 Cadence Diversity in Technology Scholarship, 2023 EECS Rising Stars, 2023 Colonel Oscar P. Cleaver Award for the most outstanding Ph.D. dissertation proposal in Georgia Tech ECE, 2023 MRS Graduate Student Award, and IBM Ph.D. Fellowship from 2022-2024.