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CCEE Postdoc Harleen Sandhu scores first place at BRIDGE Symposium

CCEE Postdoctoral Research Scholar Harleen Kaur Sandhu, and Nakul Deshpande, a postdoc with the Department of Physics, won first place at the first annual N.C. Plant Sciences Initiative’s (N.C. PSI) BRIDGE Symposium. on Feb. 22.

Harleen Kaur Sandhu

The team was among nine pairs of graduate students and postdoctoral researchers from 12 NC State University departments who presented their strategies for bringing different fields together for research to benefit the economy, the environment, and humanity. Students shared projects ranging from using artificial intelligence for improved strawberry production to employing quantum computing for drug discovery.

Sandhu and Deshpande’s talk was titled, “Nuclear Twinning and Hill Physics Winning.”

The second-place winners were Tyrik Cooper, of the Department of Forestry and Environmental Resources, and Alejandro Ibrahim, of the Department of History. They discussed intercropping fruits and vegetables with loblolly pines to help farmers and consumers, particularly those of African American descent.

The first- and second-place teams won cash prizes funded by N.C. PSI.

Sandhu said she gained invaluable insights from fellow participants and their collaborative endeavors.

“Exposure to successful interdisciplinary research not only offers young scholars, like myself, concrete examples but also highlights potential applications for their own future research projects,” she said.

In addition to presenting project ideas, participants also had the opportunity to network with each other and with representatives from area companies and from North Carolina Cooperative Extension.

Terri Long, the N.C PSI platform director for workforce development, said the symposium’s purpose was twofold.

“We really wanted this symposium to focus on interdisciplinarity, and having students present their work as a team was one way to show their skills as team players and as great communicators, which a lot of employers really seek from our graduates,” Long said. “I hope it also gave students and postdocs an opportunity to think outside the box in terms of who they could work with and to think more broadly about the applicability of their research.”

A version of this story first appeared in N.C. Plant Sciences Initiative News.