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Mathematics major receives summer fellowship at national laboratory

WKU mathematics major Derrick Johnson, a senior from Louisville, has received a Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowship to work in the Engineering Laboratory at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) near Washington, D.C., this summer.

Johnson is the first WKU student to receive a fellowship from NIST. In 2010, he was chosen to attend the Carnegie Mellon Summer School in Logic and Formal Epistemology.

“This will be my first taste of dedicated research with no coursework or exams, so there’s a change in tempo,” Johnson said. “NIST’s assignment for me is a good fit. My professors and several classmates have helped me a lot to contribute to opportunities like this.”

At NIST, Johnson will be working on the project “A Pallet Planner” under the guidance of Dr. Thomas Kramer, a member of the Knowledge Systems Group in the Intelligent Systems Division.

“This is a great opportunity for Derrick to learn how to apply his mathematics knowledge in a fast-moving, applications-driven environment,” said Dr. Bruce Kessler, associate dean of the Ogden College of Science and Engineering.

The Knowledge Systems Group, one of five groups within the Intelligent Systems Division of the Manufacturing Engineering Laboratory at NIST, specializes in the representation, standardization and measurement of knowledge needed to improve the capabilities, efficiency and effectiveness of manufacturing systems.

Dr. Mikhail Khenner, assistant professor of mathematics and Johnson’s faculty mentor, said Johnson has acquired a great set of mathematical, analytical and computation skills at WKU that will make him a valuable asset to the research group.

“I think this is an exciting opportunity for Derrick to learn about the creative and competitive environment of a national laboratory renowned for its many years of cutting-edge research and innovation in many fields ranging from basic sciences, such as mathematics, chemistry and physics, to applied sciences, such as information technology, materials and energy sciences, and nanotechnology,” Dr. Khenner said. “It is a great place to get immersed into one of a large-scale, world-class research and standardization projects.”

Contact: Dr. Mikhail Khenner, (270) 745-2797.

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