Michael Stees, a Ph.D. student in computer science, is one of just six University of Kansas students to receive a Madison & Lila Self Graduate Fellowship for 2013-14.
New or first-year Ph.D. students are eligible for the fellowship, which aims to identify and recruit exceptional students to KU. The four-year awards cover full tuition and fees, provide a $29,500 annual stipend, and include a unique development program.
The development program provides Fellows with training in communication and management for future leadership roles. They learn from a broad array of leaders―CEOs of Fortune 500 Companies to prominent experts in public policy.
“I am very fortunate to be the recipient of this fellowship. I suspect that the opportunities for personal and professional growth and enrichment provided by the Fellow Development Program will be invaluable in my time at KU, and even more so in my professional life after KU,” said Stees, who is from Plainfield, Ill. “Aside from the obvious monetary benefits, my biggest attraction to it was the Fellow Development Program, which helps you develop your leadership potential and other skills you will need in the future.”
Under the direction of EECS Assistant Professor Andy Gill, Stees will conduct research in parallelism and functional programming. The former makes programs faster by breaking down and performing several computations simultaneously, while the later is used to improve assurance arguments about software artifacts. Pharmaceutical design, economic and climate modeling, and other data-intensive applications are already using early versions of these techniques, said Dr. Gill, whose research group is developing more advanced versions.
Stees comes to KU from Monmouth College, a small private university in Monmouth, Ill. Before his senior year, the computer science standout began researching graduate schools. An online search led him to Dr. Gill’s research in functional programming and his first visit to the University of Kansas. He was impressed with Dr. Gill and his research group and liked EECS and Lawrence. He is looking forward to riding the bike trails around town and exploring downtown.
Just as KU charmed him, Stees captured the attention of the EECS graduate committee, which nominated him for the Self Fellowship. Stees is the sixth EECS student to receive the highly competitive award since its inception in 1989.
Check out Stees in his own words.