HRL Hosts Open Quantum Initiative Fellowship Students

Fellowship Program Launch Date Gives Students a Look at Life in a Working Quantum Research Environment

MALIBU, Calif. July 13, 2023— On June 12, 2023, HRL Laboratories, LLC, held a one-day launch visit for the Open Quantum Initiative (OQI) Undergraduate Fellowship program. Organized by the Chicago Quantum Exchange (CQE), OQI offers undergraduates from diverse communities an opportunity to experience life in a working quantum science laboratory or research group.

“This is a pretty new fellowship, just in its second year,” said HRL researcher Paul Jerger, the host of the event. “This year there are 21 students, including three returning from last year’s cohort to mentor the incoming students. The CQE invited us, as one of their corporate sponsors, to introduce their fellows to our cutting-edge quantum research. This event gives the students a sense of what it’s like to work at a high-end research company and get career exposure early on as they make career decisions.”

Through this fellowship, students expand their understanding of Quantum Information Science and Engineering (QISE), connect with leaders in academia and industry, and increase their awareness of quantum career opportunities. With the support of CQE, member and partner institutions in the program help establish diversity, equity, and inclusion as central priorities in the development of the quantum research ecosystem.

The OQI fellowship is inspired by the National Science Foundation’s popular Research Experiences for Undergraduates program, but with a mission to serve minoritized students who express interest in quantum research. Fellowship priority is given to students from underrepresented backgrounds, first-generation college students, and those with no prior research experience. Rising college sophomores or juniors and those who attend minority-serving institutions are encouraged to apply. Participating students spend the summer working in person with research groups on challenging, meaningful QISE projects at institutions across the CQE community.

“The OQI fellows saw how HRL is using and advancing QISE, met with QISE scientists, and witnessed HRL’s work culture—an invaluable exposure to industry that complements their 10-week research experiences at universities and Department of Energy national labs across the CQE community. This is an important perspective, one that can offer additional insight and inspiration as the OQI fellows imagine and build future career paths,” said Kate Timmerman, CEO of the CQE, who attended the visit. “Our hope is that the visit to HRL provided the company with the opportunity to meet with rising stars in QISE, provide a day-in-the-life experience, and potentially recruit the fellows for internships and future careers.”

The students’ summer fellowship is focused on developing research skills and gaining exposure to a diversity of physics subfields, including experimental, computational, and theoretical approaches in quantum optics and information science, quantum computing, quantum communications, and quantum sensing. Participants also complete a research project with the help of their industry mentors and present their work at a culmination program attended by the CQE community. OQI plans future research experiences in subsequent summers and provides veteran participants opportunities to mentor newly accepted OQI Fellows.

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HRL Laboratories, LLC, Malibu, California ( is a corporate research-and-development laboratory owned by The Boeing Company and General Motors specializing in research into sensors and materials, information and systems sciences, applied electromagnetics, and microelectronics. HRL provides custom research and development and performs additional R&D contract services for its LLC member companies, the U.S. government, and other commercial companies.

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