Vet Bradley WheelerDoctoral student Bradley Wheeler was one of only 11 prestigious graduate research fellowship awards made recently by the National Science Foundation for military veterans contributing to STEM fields.

Wheeler is pursuing a PhD in Electrical Engineering student with an emphasis in Microelectromechanical Systems. Currently, he is working on millimeter-scale autonomous robotics with the Berkeley Sensor and Actuator Center and Qualcomm Swarm Lab and in collaboration with faculty from the Berkeley Wireless Research Center. After leaving active duty as a captain in the US Marine Corps, he began his graduate studies at Cal in the fall of 2013. While active, he served four years as a communications officer.

The November ceremony, where the awards were presented, took place at NSF headquarters in Arlington, Virginia. The ceremony was structured to have veterans exchange information about their research and inspiration for pursuing their field of interest.

“A large portion of the research in our group focuses on developing networks of millimeter-scale autonomous robots; think of a mechanical colony of ants or swarm of bees all equipped with sensors for measuring their environment and radios for communicating with one another,”said Bradley Wheeler.

Wheeler was recently contacted to participate in NSF’s Veteran’s Day event, and realized how few veterans are in the STEM graduate community.

“Attending the Veteran’s Day event really raised my awareness about the small number of veterans who are pursuing graduate degrees in these fields,” Wheeler said. “NSF has the power to change that and I was honored to be among the few selected who were invited to share their opinions on how we get more veterans involved in science, technology, engineering and mathematics.”