2024 U.S. National Defense Science and Engineering Graduate Research Fellowship

Andrew Ashdown, PhD’27, electrical engineering, was selected as one of the recipients of the U.S. Department of Defense National Defense Science and Engineering Graduate Research Fellowship. A highly competitive fellowship, it is awarded to promising U.S. scientists and engineers to encourage them to pursue doctoral degrees in designated research disciplines of military importance.

Ashdown’s academic journey traces back to his formative years, where his curiosity for math and science led him on a path towards engineering. Following in the footsteps of his uncle, Ashdown embarked on his undergraduate studies at Stony Brook University, where he earned his Bachelor of Science degree in electrical engineering in 2022. Driven by a fascination with 5G and wireless communications, Ashdown set his sights on pursuing advanced research opportunities, ultimately leading him to Northeastern and the Institute for the Wireless Internet of Things (WIoT) under the mentorship of Francesco Restuccia, assistant professor of electrical and computer engineering.

Motivated by a family legacy of military service, with ancestors who bravely served in World War II and Vietnam, Ashdown felt compelled to contribute to the defense of his nation. The NDSEG Fellowship presented an ideal opportunity to marry his academic pursuits with his patriotic fervor, prompting him to apply under the guidance of his advisor. His dedication to leveraging his expertise in service of national security resonated strongly with the fellowship’s mission.

At WIoT, Ashdown’s research interests converge on the cutting-edge realms of 5G cellular communications and Open Radio Access Networks (O-RAN). Through his doctoral studies, he aims to explore innovative solutions that can enhance communication systems critical for military operations and national defense.

The NDSEG Fellowship represents a pivotal milestone in Ashdown’s academic and professional journey, offering unparalleled opportunities for mentorship, funding, and networking. With this prestigious award, Ashdown envisions taking his research endeavors to new heights, with a focus on contributing to the DoD’s mission.

Reflecting on his selection among over 3300 applicants, Ashdown expresses profound gratitude for the unwavering support of his advisors and mentors. Their guidance and encouragement have been instrumental in shaping his academic trajectory and securing this prestigious honor.

Ashdown’s research contributions thus far include collaborative projects with the WIoT community and the Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL), focusing on advancing 5G/O-RAN technologies. Looking ahead, he aspires to continue his dedication to research and innovation, with a commitment to leveraging his expertise for the greater good.

As for the future, Ashdown aspires to make impactful contributions that safeguard national security and protect the lives of fellow citizens. With his dedication and the support of the NDSEG Fellowship, Andrew Ashdown is poised to leave an indelible mark on the field of wireless communications and defense technology.

Related Departments:Electrical & Computer Engineering