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NSF recipients choose Tech

Spectrum Volume 17 Issue 11 - November 3, 1994

Two recipients of National Science Foundation Fellowships have elected to do their graduate studies at Virginia Tech.

Barry Bickmore of Orem, Utah, is a doctoral student in geology. Elvin Taylor Jr. of Durham, N.C., is a master's degree candidate in electrical engineering.

"Those students can go anywhere," explains Martha Johnson, assistant dean of the graduate school. "It is a mark of quality when they chose Virginia Tech--a stamp of academic approval on a national scale."

Bickmore became interested in geology because his grandmother, Marian Bickmore, was a rockhound, he reports. Now he is studying surface geochemistry--looking at the chemical reactions taking place on the surfaces of minerals at the atomic level. "It is a fundamental way of understanding what is going on," he explains. He has come to Virginia Tech because "not many places are able to do that."

Bickmore earned his bachelor's degree in geology from Brigham Young University. He is a member of the International Geochemical Society.

Taylor earned his undergraduate degree from N.C. State University at Raleigh in electrical engineering and computer engineering, and has decided to focus his graduate-level work on computer architecture and parallel processing, or computer networks. "I enjoy working with computer hardware," he said.

His interest was advanced by summer work with IBM's North Carolina affiliate, Inroads, for four years. For three years, he worked in the failure-analysis lab for PS2 products. The fourth summer he was a U.S. market and service division customer engineer. In the summer of '92, he worked at IBM's Bulkerton, Fla., site doing compatibility testing for new products on existing operating systems, such as DOS.

He did research at Virginia Tech last summer as an NSF scholar. He helped design a queuing model for a network on campus. That experience is why he chose to continue his studies here.

Taylor would like to teach and do research at the university level, "and I've thought about working in industry for a few years because it would probably help me as an instructor."