Open Quantum Initiative Undergraduate Fellowship

Program Description 

The Open Quantum Initiative (OQI) Undergraduate Fellowship offers undergraduate students from minoritized communities the opportunity to gain research experiences working in a quantum science laboratory or research group.

Through this fellowship, students will expand their understanding of Quantum Information Science and Engineering (QISE), connect with leaders in academia and industry, and increase their awareness of quantum career opportunities. And with the support of Chicago Quantum Exchange (CQE) member and partner institutions this fellowship helps to establish diversity, equity, and inclusion as priorities central to the development of the quantum ecosystem.

Priority is given to minoritized applicants, including, though not limited to, students from underrepresented backgrounds, first-generation college students, and those with no prior research experience. Rising sophomores or juniors and those who attend minority-serving institutions are encouraged to apply.

Students participating in this program will spend the summer working in person with research groups on challenging, meaningful QISE projects. Research experiences may occur across the CQE community including: University of Chicago, Argonne National Laboratory, Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory, University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, University of Wisconsin–Madison, Northwestern University, and Ohio State University. The summer experience will be aimed at developing students' "research literacy" skills and their exposure to the wide diversity of physics subfields (including experimental, computational, and theoretical approaches) in:

  • Quantum Optics/Information Science
  • Quantum Computing
  • Quantum Communication
  • Quantum Sensing

The Fellowship follows a cohort model where students have numerous opportunities to interact with the other members of the cohort during the summer research period and throughout the following academic year. Students will participate in a 10-week residential research experiences program in QISE. During the program, participants will complete a research project within a quantum information science and engineering group, as well as meet regularly with their graduate student or postdoc mentor to ensure their research is on track. Participants will present their work during a program culmination attended by the CQE community.

During the academic year following their summer research experiences, OQI Fellows will have the opportunity to meet virtually each month to continue expanding their understanding of quantum science and career opportunities in the field, grow their professional networks with leaders in academia and industry, engage in soft skills training, and continue personal mentorship. The OQI will also aim to provide future research experiences in subsequent summers, as well as provide opportunities to mentor newly accepted OQI Fellows.

Funding for the Summer 2022/23 Open Quantum Initiative is provided by: University of Chicago, Q-NEXT at Argonne National Laboratory, the Illinois Quantum Information Science and Technology Center at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, HQAN at the University of Wisconsin–Madison, The Ohio State University, Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation.

 

The Open Quantum Initiative is a group of researchers, educators, and leaders among the Chicago Quantum Exchange that champions the values of diversity, equity, and inclusion in quantum science.

The OQI Undergraduate Fellowship offers undergraduate students from minoritized communities the opportunity to gain research experiences working in a quantum science laboratory or research group. Priority is given to minoritized applicants, including, though not limited to, students from underrepresented backgrounds, first-generation college students, and those with no prior research experience. Rising sophomores or juniors and those who attend minority-serving institutions, R2 research institutions, or small liberal arts colleges are encouraged to apply.

The Open Quantum Initiative, in partnership with the Chicago Quantum Exchange and CQE member and partner institutions (University of Chicago, Argonne National Laboratory, Fermilab, University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, University of Wisconsin-Madison, Northwestern University, and The Ohio State University) invites students to apply for the OQI Undergraduate Fellowship.

Throughout the summer program, awardees will enjoy the following benefits:

  • Working directly with faculty and senior researchers on challenging and relevant research projects
  • Professional development activities aimed at developing skills in research ethics, science communication, Resume/CV workshops, and professional networking
  • Social activities with other awardees and field trips
  • Virtual cohort meet-ups during the 2023/24 academic year for students to engage in workshops for networking with industry partners; content presentations with subject matter experts, and soft skills training (resume writing, communications, job application tips); and application fee waivers for select events
  • Ongoing mentorship with summer advisors and peers throughout the academic year
  • Stipend of $6,000, on-campus housing, travel to/from the program

Applications for the 2023 Cohort are opening on Tuesday, November 1, 2022:

A completed application consists of the following:

  • a completed online application, which requires 1 letter of reference
  • a 300-500-word "statement of interest" describing your personal goals and how you believe this fellowship experience could help you achieve those goals
  • an official or unofficial transcript uploaded to the application
  • Students must be currently enrolled in an undergraduate program at an accredited educational institution located in the United States; recently graduated seniors are not eligible for the program.
  • Students must have completed their freshman year by June 2023 with at least 4 undergraduate college courses of some combination of physics, mathematics, chemistry, engineering, and/or computer science. Interested community college students who have completed one year of studies are highly encouraged to apply to our program.
  • Students must be majoring or intending to major in physics, chemistry, mathematics, electrical engineering, computer engineering, mechanical engineering, computer science, quantum science, philosophy, or a QISE related major.
  • Priority is given to minoritized applicants, including, though not limited to, students from underrepresented backgrounds, first-generation college students, and those with no prior research experience. All students interested in QISE are encouraged to apply.
  • As this program is intended to be multi-year, preference will be given to applicants who are rising sophomores or rising juniors, however students of any undergraduate year are encouraged to apply.

Gustavo E. Aldas, Passaic County Community College

Major: Electrical & Computer Engineering

OQI Institution: University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign

Faculty Mentor: Mikael Backlund

Research Topic: Developing and applying cutting-edge quantum sensing technologies based on laser-addressable, atom-scale defects in diamond to tease apart complex molecular systems relevant to biophysics, materials, and chemistry.

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Alejandro Aponte, Florida International University

Major: Physics

OQI Institution: University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign

Faculty Mentor: Elizabeth Goldschmidt

Research Topic: Developing an optical quantum memory based on rare-earth atoms in cryogenically cooled solid-state hosts.

Ekaterina Y Arutyunova, Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Major: Physics & Electrical Engineering

OQI Institution: University of Wisconsin–Madison

Faculty Mentor: Jennifer Choy

Research Topic: Conducting research on quantum sensing with rubidium atoms, and integrating photonic components with atomic magnetometry and gravimetry setups.

Cody Castle, Wilbur Wright College

Major: Computer Engineering

OQI Institution: Argonne National Laboratory

Faculty Mentor: Joseph Heremans

Research Topic: Quantum sensing platforms need to be specifically developed for quantum sensing applications through materials synthesis and materials characterization. These steps involve a systematic approach to optimize the development of new materials platforms. Such efforts are currently done manually using well established materials characterization techniques. The goal of this project is to identify areas of QIS experiments that would benefit greatly from the automation of specific experimental tasks and develop rapid characterization techniques. Including automation and development of our new diamond membrane delamination process.

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Eric J'Ryan Daniels, Stanford University

Major: Physics

OQI Institution: The Ohio State University

Faculty Mentor: Jay Gupta

Research Topic: Utilizing surface science techniques in ultrahigh vacuum (UHV) to characterize and control the properties of individual quantum point defects. Qubit candidates including spin-labeled molecules and rare earth atoms will be introduced to 2D and quantum material hosts in UHV to realize enhanced coherence properties. Scanning tunneling microscopy will then be used to correlate coherence properties with the qubit local environment, including proximity to surfaces, interfaces and native point defects.

Ariadna Fernandez, University of Illinois Chicago

Major: Computer Science

OQI Institution: University of Chicago

Faculty Mentor: Laura Gagliardi

Research Topic: Performing electronic structure calculations on molecular systems that could be employed as molecular qubits. Learning the foundations of quantum chemistry for quantum computers and performing simple calculations on a quantum simulator.

Kaytlin Faith Harrison, University of Wisconsin–Madison

Major: Physics

OQI Institution: University of Wisconsin–Madison

Faculty Mentor: Baha Balantekin

Research Topic: Exploring the entanglement of neutrinos in compact objects by simplified models which can be implemented in near-term noisy quantum computers starting with simulations on Qiskit, then moving on to cloud quantum computers and to a neutral atom system under development.

Louisa Mary Kaplan, The College of William & Mary

Major: Physics

OQI Institution: The Ohio State University

Faculty Mentor: Ezekiel Johnston-Halperin

Research Topic: Exploring the properties of molecular materials for quantum information science and engineering (QISE). These systems have an intrinsic appeal for QISE in that modern chemistry provides us a toolbox that allows atomic-engineering of electron wavefunctions, including their coherence properties, and then duplicating that structure 10^23 times with atomic precision. Building and measuring quantum devices that incorporate molecular spin qubits into solid-state devices.

Healey Kogan, University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign

Major: Engineering Physics

OQI Institution: University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign

Faculty Mentor: Jacob Covey

Research Topic: Design and construction of an optical table enclosure system for climate control of an atom tweezer experiment for quantum networking and computing, and an introduction to the tools and techniques used in quantum science research with laser-cooled atoms.

Joseph Oluwole, Chicago State University

Major: Computer Science

OQI Institution: Fermilab 

Faculty Mentor: Gabriel Perdue

Research Topic: Exploring a new paradigm for quantum computing – “qudit” based quantum computation. Most quantum computers use qubits as their computational primitives. However, it is possible to use different computational primitives – instead of two levels, why not N-levels? This changes the approach to algorithms and there may be interesting advantages in using N-level primitives, particularly if they are native to the hardware. Exploring using high-performance computing resources to construct operations on a qudit-based quantum information processor.

Adrian Portales, University of Texas Rio Grande Valley

Major: Mechanical Engineering

OQI Institution: Argonne National Laboratory

Faculty Mentor: Supratik Guha

Research Topic: Controlled spalling is a method of peeling a thin film from a brittle substrate using deposited nickel to induce shear stress within the substrate. This project relates the nickel electroplating conditions to the thickness and roughness of exfoliated thin films in a variety of substrates.  The long-term intent of this project is to develop a methodology for stacking dissimilar crystalline materials together to make quantum devices.

Tiarna Marie Wise, Coppin State University

Major: Computer Science

OQI Institution: University of Chicago

Faculty Mentor: David Awschalom

Research Topic: Exploring the integration of software and qubit control hardware to implement coherent control of spin qubits in electrical devices. The implementation of control sequences requires synchronous control of optical, microwave, and electronic transitions, which will enable advanced quantum measurements in classical electronic device architectures.

 

Apply Here

Submitted applications can be edited until the deadline of February 5, 2023

Offers will be made on a rolling basis after the application deadline until all positions are filled. Fellows will be notified by e-mail of their acceptance into the program and will be given a specific time window to accept or decline the offer.

 

Download a printable OQI Fellowship informational flyer