Cristina Martin-Linares, a mechanical engineering PhD candidate at Johns Hopkins University, has been awarded the prestigious ”la Caixa” Fellowship.
Awarded by ”la Caixa” Foundation and personally handed over by the King of Spain in an official ceremony, the ”la Caixa” Fellowship, conferred since 1982, is considered the most important in Spain and one of the most prestigious in Europe. The award recognizes the fellows for both their academic achievements and leadership, and for their high potential.
The Foundation awarded 45 fellowships in 2019 for graduate studies in the United States or Canada. Martin-Linares was the recipient of one of the 11 fellowships in Science and Engineering, in any PhD program of her choosing, after a competitive selection process. The applicants are evaluated and interviewed by committees formed by university professors of the corresponding field from different institutions in the world. The potential of the candidate, academic and professional achievements, innovation, motivation, originality, independence, leadership, the impact of the proposed idea, and communication/clarity of exposition, are among the academic and interpersonal skills used to judge the merit of the applicant.
Martin-Linares is a rising fourth-year doctoral candidate in the Department of Mechanical Engineering at Johns Hopkins University. She started her PhD in 2017 with a Departmental Fellowship, and until 2020 was a student under the supervision of Thao (Vicky) Nguyen, where she led innovative research on the constitutive modeling and mechanics of viscoelasticity and energy dissipation in Liquid Crystal Elastomers. Her research has been experimental, computational, and theoretical. Currently, Martin-Linares is advised by Gretar Tryggvason, Department Head and Charles Miller Distinguished Professor of Mechanical Engineering, and Yannis Kevrekidis, Bloomberg Distinguished Professor in Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering.
The fellowship will support Cristina Martin-Linares as she continues to pursue research on the modeling of dynamical and multiscale systems using machine learning techniques and mathematical modeling.
“The ”la Caixa” Fellowship will continue to fund my PhD and gives me the freedom to do research in any topic of my interest,” said Martin-Linares. “I love physics and mathematical modeling. I think that I am working in an exciting and emerging field using creative ways to model physics. I am also very interested in developing these ideas in biology.”
Beyond her research, Martin-Linares participates as Vice President of the Mechanical Engineering Graduate Association (MEGA) and is a representative of the Graduate Representative Organization (GRO). She mentors students and is especially passionate about participating in activities that empower women and other minorities in STEM.
Since 2015, King Felipe VI and Queen Letizia of Spain have presided over the official ceremony and award the certificate to each of the recipients. Also in attendance are the Ministers of Education and Economy and other personalities, and the families of the awardees.
Due to the exceptional circumstances of the COVID-19 pandemic, the ceremony has been postponed and the new date is yet to be determined.
Originally from Almería, a city in Spain, Martin-Linares, in addition to winning the prestigious ”la Caixa” fellowship, has been named a 2020 finalist for the XII Prize ‘Andaluces del Futuro’ (Andalusians of the Future), in the Science category, given to outstanding young Andalusians scientists. Her plan in the future is to continue in academia.