Andrew Lambert is exactly the type of graduate student that alumnus Winslow Sargeant had in mind when he established a graduate fellowship in his name. The prestigious fellowship awards a generous financial package to a highly motivated African-American PhD student in the UW-Madison Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering. Lambert, who is also a past recipient of the GEM Consortium fellowship, has demonstrated that drive for success in his time at UW-Madison.
While in pursuit of his master’s degree, Lambert interned at Intel Corporation during the summer, and performed research on experimental quantum computing during the academic year. A native of Spring Valley, New York, Lambert received his bachelor’s degree in electrical and computer engineering from the New York Institute of Technology and a master of engineering degree from the Rochester Institute of Technology. Lambert says his decision to move to Madison rested on the school’s reputation as a research leader in quantum computing.
“Madison has a strong effort in this area of research and is well-equipped with labs to fabricate the devices for the study of quantum computing,” Lambert says.
His research is focused on engineering quantum bits (“qubits”), which will then be used to construct a quantum computer. “Quantum computers will enable us to solve problems that are intractable to current computing technologies,” Lambert says. “This new class of computers will enable many breakthroughs in STEM fields.”
Quantum computing has been the subject of theoretical research for decades, but the ability to build quantum computers—which would be vastly more powerful than current computing systems that depend on a binary bit structure—for wide use remains in its infancy.
Lambert’s successful scholarship record and his progress toward building quantum bits has in part depended on the Winslow Sargeant Graduate Fellowship. Lambert says that the fellowship, which covers expenses related to tuition, healthcare and fringe benefits, and provides a stipend, is currently his sole source of funding.
The fellowship, which is intended to encourage African-American scholars to pursue an advanced engineering degree, is an important part of a wider grassroots effort that Lambert says is needed to make such scholarship a realistic possibility for the broader African-American community.
“The best way to build those opportunities is to have a strong effort on rebuilding the low-income black communities and focus on people in high school and younger,” Lambert says. “For example, have extracurricular activities, an aggressive and competitive public-school system, and reestablish the importance of education by exposing youth to higher education and labs, as well as what can be accomplished if education is pursued.”
Author: Will Cushman