Written by: Ben Donohue & Olivia Ortegon
Beginning as a collaboration between the American and French government, the Chateaubriand Fellowship is a prestigious, research-focused opportunity centered around climate change. The Fellowship supports “outstanding PhD students from U.S. institutions who wish to conduct part of their doctoral research in France”, according to the Chateaubriand Fellowship official website. C2E2’s very own, Andres Ortiz Godoy, is the most recent winner of this fellowship as his work with fuel cells helped him achieve this accomplishment.
“I’m going to France!”, Godoy said with a smile when asked about what excites him most about this opportunity. With a long-term fascination for French culture, he looks forward to experiencing it for himself as well as the opportunities to develop his research by working in France.
Andres will be there for four months working at the Université Grenoble Alpes in collaboration with another laboratory, CEA-Liten. There, he will be researching and working on the degradation of the catalyst used for fuel cells and understanding how the catalyst behaves. This will help him discover how to reduce the negative impact on the catalyst material to improve fuel cell efficiency.
“The expertise of the person I’m working for can help me fill the gaps I have here in the U.S.”, Godoy explained when asked how studying in France can benefit his research. “We plan to have a continued relationship, maybe in the future students can do an exchange between the universities and/or laboratories,” Godoy said. He is excited for this experience as it will greatly benefit his research as well as establish a connection between UConn/C2E2 and the Université Grenoble Alpes. This can open doors for other PhD students looking to follow in Andres’ footsteps.
Godoy also shared advice for students planning to apply to the Fellowship in the future: “I’d been planning to apply for a long time and it was a long process; don’t do it on a whim. It’s important for the research you’re doing to be applicable, take note of what you’ve done and there might be someone in France willing to work with you based on the research you have done”. He also mentioned that contacting students who have previously won the Fellowship helped him, as they were able to guide him through the application process. Additionally, his experiences over the years have helped him expand his research to be able to work with influential people to help build his profile.
“Without Dr. Jasna Jankovic’s support, none of this would’ve been possible”, Godoy said when asked if there was anyone he’d like to acknowledge. He also wanted to acknowledge his lab partners, specifically Amir Soleymani, as well as the rest of his lab partners and research collaborators who have helped him achieve this incredible opportunity.
“Apply for these kind of opportunities”, Andres implored his peers. Not only will it benefit the students, but it also benefits the institutions and the labs who gain new connections through programs such as these. Andres explained that he feels that many people may not take the chance to apply for these types of opportunities, but he encourages everyone to at least try. “If you plan in advance and motivate yourself, you can also achieve these opportunities”.
We wish Andres safe travels and a great time in France!