Charles Dove ’20

Hertz Fellow

By Paul Alongi

One out of hundreds of applicants, Dove secured one of the nation’s top fellowships

In his first year after graduating from Clemson, Charles Dove won the prestigious Hertz Fellowship, started a Ph.D. program at the University of California, Berkeley, and conducted scientific research worthy of a Fulbright scholarship.

He did it all from his bedroom in Clemson.

“It’s been a hectic year for everyone, but I’ve been having a lot of fun getting into research and doing work that hopefully will help a lot of people,” Dove says.

Last year, Dove received his Bachelor of Science in electrical engineering from Clemson. He went on to apply for the Hertz Fellowship, one of the nation’s most competitive awards for graduate students. Out of more than 900 applicants from around the world, Dove was among 12 this year to receive the fellowship. It comes with five years of funding up to $250,000 and the freedom to pursue innovative projects wherever they may lead, according to The Hertz Foundation website.

Previous winners have gone on to receive MacArthur Fellowships, the Fields Medal, the National Medal of Science, the National Medal of Technology and the Nobel Prize.

COVID-19 shredded Dove’s post-graduation plans to study in Switzerland as part of his Fulbright award, but he didn’t let the pandemic sideline him. The research Dove was originally supposed to conduct at Ecole Polytechnique Federale de Lausanne, he did from his bedroom. His work focuses on the intersection of biological imaging, light-based devices and artificial intelligence.

“The fellowship is reserved for the nation’s most promising graduate students in science and technology. We are thrilled that Charles laid the foundation for his success in the Clemson University College of Engineering, Computing and Applied Sciences,” says Daniel Noneaker, CECAS’ associate dean for research.

While at Clemson, Dove made his mark in the classroom, the lab and his extracurricular activities.

He played a leading role in the Rocket Engineering Team, where he helped launch rockets to the height of Mount Everest. Dove also founded the Small Satellite Team, and as founder of the Fusion Engineering Team, he led experiments in nuclear fusion. He also credits Clemson’s Office of Major Fellowships with playing an integral role in his success. The office helped him successfully apply for a Fulbright award and an Astronaut Scholarship.

“That is where Clemson excels on a national level — the support for students in experiential learning,” Dove says. “You can have an idea and say, ‘I think I would like to fly some satellites.’ You can make that a reality.”

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