Edward Cole (PhD 2013, Mechanical Engineering) and Chris Torres (PhD 2011, Mechanical Engineering) working together in the Laser-assisted Multi-scale Manufacturing Lab.
The College of Engineering's Graduate Engineering Research Scholars (GERS) is a unique fellowship program designed to offer underrepresented students a support network of peers and professional development opportunities. Through GERS, students become members of a diverse community of UWMadison engineering graduate students, faculty, and staff. Since 1999, GERS has graduated 92 MS and 90 PhD degrees.
GERS is funded through the Advanced Opportunity Fellowship (AOF), which is supported by the State of Wisconsin, as well as the UW Graduate School, the Office of the Vice Chancellor for Research and Graduate Education, and the Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation. Faculty must nominate a graduate student through an application process in order for a student to receive AOF funding.
Douglass Henderson, GERS' founding faculty director, receives the Presidential Award for Excellence in Science, Mathematics, and Engineering Mentoring for his significant contributions to mentoring pre-college, undergraduate, and graduate students and young faculty.
Douglass Henderson, a professor of nuclear engineering in the Department of Engineering Physics (and the department’s current chair), envisioned something like GERS in 1998. He knew that giving the few minority students in the College of Engineering a community would help them feel less isolated, increasing chances of success in graduate school. The GERS model, leading to sustained growth of underrepresented graduates in the College of Engineering, has spread across the university to many colleges. The success of GERS culminated in Prof. Henderson’s nomination for and awarding of the Presidential Award for Excellence in Science, Mathematics, and Engineering Mentoring.