Engineering Physics Graduate Wins NSF Fellowship for Robotics Research

Saturday, June 14, 2008

University of Tulsa engineering physics major Adam Leeper has won a 2007 National Science Foundation (NSF) Graduate Research Fellowship to further his research in robotics. The scholarship will cover three years of graduate school education and is worth more than $120,000.

Leeper, who graduated from TU in May with a degree in engineering physics, joins two other TU students, Thomas Loyd and David Robinson, who were awarded NSF scholarships this year. Three other TU students were awarded honorable mentions in 2007.

A 2003 graduate from William J. Palmer High School in Colorado Springs, Colo., Leeper will pursue his graduate studies at Stanford University. He plans to research robotics and dynamics and control for aerospace applications in Stanford’s aeronautics and astronautics department.

His winning research proposal for the NSF fellowship presented his undergraduate research in machine vision for autonomous vehicles. This topic originated from his work on global positioning system (GPS) guidance for robotics with Gerald Kane, the TU Norberg Chair in Electrical Engineering, and his participation in the Tulsa Undergraduate Research Challenge (TURC).

While at TU, Leeper helped develop the power systems control for the University’s hybrid car submission for Challenge X, a college-level automotive engineering competition sponsored by the U.S. Department of Energy and General Motors Corp. TU is one of only 17 schools invited to participate in the Challenge X project.

Leeper also contributed to interdisciplinary research at TU by combining physics and exercise science to work on instrumentation of inertial exercise devices. He presented his interdisciplinary work at the 53rd International Instrumentation Symposium held in Tulsa in May.

Outside of TU, Leeper interned at Qual Tron, Inc., a Tulsa-based company that makes electronic sensors. He also volunteered as an assistant to the physics teacher at Rogers High School.

The National Science Foundation annually offers up to 1,000 graduate fellowships in a competitive process for master’s or doctoral students who are at the early stages of their science, technology, engineering and mathematics graduate studies.

Since 1995, TU students have received 41 Goldwater, 8 Truman, 4 Marshall, and 5 Udall scholarships; and 27 National Science Foundation, 7 Department of Defense, 6 Fulbright and 7 Phi Kappa Phi fellowships.