Doctoral Student Julian Gamboa González Receives Presidential Fellowship

Northwestern Engineering electrical engineering PhD student Julian Gamboa González has received a Presidential Fellowship, the most prestigious fellowship awarded to graduate students by Northwestern University.

Julian Gamboa GonzálezGamboa González is a PhD candidate in electrical and computer engineering, advised by Selim Shahriar, professor of electrical and computer engineering at the McCormick School of Engineering.

“It is a great honor to receive such a prestigious award,” said Gamboa González, who is also a member of the Lab for Atomic and Photonic Technologies (LAPT). “It's my hope that joining the Northwestern Society of Presidential Fellows will provide ample opportunity to converse with colleagues from diverse backgrounds and generate novel and impactful solutions to larger problems.”

Funded by the President of the University and awarded by The Graduate School, Presidential Fellowships are bestowed annually to graduate students who are nominated by their academic programs. Less than 12 percent of nominated students are appointed to the Fellowship.

Fellows combine outstanding intellectual and creative talent with scholarly achievement and a demonstrated ability to communicate the significance and impact of their work to a broad academic audience. Leaders within their respective disciplines, Presidential Fellowship recipients join the Society of Fellows and participate in various gatherings and functions, including an annual retreat.

Gamboa González’s research focuses on developing optical systems that use holograms for data acquisition and signal processing. He is currently working on improving a LAPT system that uses light and holographic storage to perform ultra-fast image recognition.

“We finally got it working last year after making a significant breakthrough, but it currently performs at about 30 frames per second (fps),” Gamboa González said. “We're hoping to get it to 180 fps by the end of the year, and 720 fps by next year. For comparison, a supercomputer can perform a similar task at about 80 fps.”

Gamboa González is also developing a new type of hologram for use in free-space optical communications, which will allow for a full 360-degree field of view. To aid in the design process, the LAPT team is fabricating the second prototype and performing simulations.

“After my PhD program, I'm looking to stay in a research-oriented career path. I'd like to continue growing as a researcher, and I'd love to work at a large laboratory like JPL, Argonne, or Lawrence-Livermore and contribute to more long-term projects,” Gamboa González said. “In the long run, I'd love to become a professor so that I can continue doing research while also passing on my knowledge and love for the field onto the next generation.”

Gamboa González was awarded a 2021 Optics and Photonics Education Scholarship by SPIE, the international society for optics and photonics.

Gamboa González earned a master’s degree in electrical engineering from Northwestern Engineering in 2021. He obtained a bachelor of science degree in telecommunications and electronic systems engineering at Tecnológico de Monterrey (ITESM) CCM, in Mexico City, where he graduated with honors. His dissertation research on high-speed OFDM fiber-optic lines was performed in collaboration with ITESM and the Instituto de Ingeniería (IINGEN), Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México.

“I really am extremely grateful for the opportunity that this fellowship represents,” Gamboa González said. “As an international student, I don't have access to as many fellowships as my American counterparts, and the fact that Northwestern has opted to include us in the Presidential Fellowship is amazing.”

McCormick News Article