Christopher Panuski

Hertz Fellow: Christopher Panuski

Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Area of Study

Electrical Engineering

Fellowship Years

2017 - present

Christopher Panuski is currently a senior midshipman at the United States Naval Academy majoring in electrical engineering and physics. Born in Augusta, Georgia, Chris moved at a young age to the rural countryside of Davidson, North Carolina. Many barn-based experiments and projects later, he relocated to Durham to fully embrace his budding passion for scientific exploration at the North Carolina School of Science and Mathematics. He then conducted an independent investigation of novel radiation shielding materials for commercial integrated circuits in space, a project which exposed him to the beautiful symbiotic relationship between engineering and physical science.

Chris then matriculated into the Naval Academy as an initial step toward achieving his ultimate goal – to couple his interests in research and innovation with a career of technical leadership in service to both the United States and the broader global community. As a Trident Scholar at the Academy, he established a collaboration with the Naval Research Laboratory to investigate a new technique for radio frequency to optical conversion using integrated photonics, an exciting field of remarkable promise for the proliferation of optical technologies. Chris also devised a creative, signal processing-based solution for digital image reconstruction at the Defense Cyber Crime Center, and founded the Naval Academy’s IEEE student branch to further involve his peers with the institution’s research.

Upon graduation, he will join the Navy’s cryptologic community, a new organization established to counter the increasing frequency and global implications of technology-enabled threats. As a PhD student at MIT, he plans to work with Professor Dirk Englund and the MIT Lincoln Laboratory to develop solutions to these national security challenges through the advancement of photonic technologies. Chris also hopes to assist with the development of AIM Photonics, the United States’ emerging silicon photonics foundry. Ultimately, he aspires to combine the leadership experience afforded by his naval career with his scientific knowledge in order to serve as a senior researcher and technical leader for the nation’s future innovation efforts.

Outside of academia and the Navy, Chris enjoys aviation as a hobby, and shares his love for flying as a volunteer flight instructor for fellow midshipmen and local students.