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Austin Sendek

RELP Cohort: 2016
School: Humanities and Sciences

Austin is a third-year Ph.D. student in the Stanford Department of Applied Physics. His research, supervised by Profs. Evan Reed and Yi Cui, focuses on applying cutting-edge techniques in machine learning to aid in the discovery and design of new solid electrolytes for solid-state batteries. In his time at Stanford, he has also worked on Prussian blue-based batteries for waste heat capture, strategies for maximizing cycle life in lithium ion batteries, and algorithms for identifying materials for atomically-thin electronics. He is an Office of Technology Licensing Fellow supported by a Stanford Graduate Fellowship. Austin is also the current co-president of the Stanford Energy Club, Stanfords largest student-run energy organization. Prior to his term as president, Austin served as the founding co-director of the Stanford Energy Clubs Energy Storage Community, a small student group dedicated to collaborative learning on all aspects of energy storage technology and policy.

Austin began his academic journey in 2008 as an undergraduate studying chemical physics at the University of California, Davis. In 2010, he made international headlines for his whimsical petition to designate the slang term hella as the scientific prefix for one octillion; although the petition was unsuccessful, it garnered him a place on Sacramento News & Reviews 2010 list of the top 100 most influential people in the Sacramento region. He then spent the summer of 2011 in Washington, DC, interning with both the Stella Group, Ltd., and the Atlantic Council of the United States. Beginning in 2011, he worked with Professor Daniel Cox to develop computational simulations of brain cell death in Alzheimer's disease, and predicted a new mechanism for the brain damage that characterizes the cognitive decline of Alzheimer's. In 2012, he delivered the keynote address at his high schools commencement ceremony, making him the youngest commencement speaker in school history. Two weeks later, he graduated from UC Davis with highest honors and gave the commencement address at his own graduation ceremony. Before beginning graduate school at Stanford, Austin spent a year continuing his research at UC Davis and working as a software developer for the enterprise software company Workday.