Charles Dove was an undergraduate at Clemson University when he helped lead teams that experiment with nuclear fusion, launch rockets to the same height as Mount Everest and build small satellites that orbit Earth.

It was an extraordinary Clemson experience, one that was capped by a high honor.

Charles Dove

Dove, who graduated in May with his Bachelor of Science in electrical engineering, has received a grant through the Fulbright U.S. Student Program.

He plans to use the grant to take a research position at Ecole Polytechnique Federale de Lausanne in Switzerland, where he will help advance Lidar, the light-based technology that allows autonomous cars to “see” the world around them.

While at Clemson, Dove played a leading role in the Rocket Engineering Team. He also founded the Small Satellite Team and the Fusion Engineering Team, positions that involved recruiting faculty members and students.

Dove said it feels great to win the Fulbright grant and that he is thankful to everyone who has helped him with outreach and technical research programs.

“I was able to work with some great professors and great undergraduates to get those programs started and running,” he said. “I think that’s what really fed into winning an award like this– just being able to do some really interesting work with some great people.”

Dove said he likes trying to understand and work with the complexity of the universe.

“To understand how things work, that very much appeals to me at my core,” Dove said. “At a closer level, I really believe in experiential learning. I tell people that I got an engineering degree and that I did all this other stuff, and it’s kind of like another engineering degree. Being able to build these systems and do the physics is what really motivates learning. And it really makes it stick in your mind.”

Dove, the son of Richard and Linda Dove, is originally from Vicksburg, Mississippi. He and his family moved to Clemson when he was in 7th grade, and he graduated in 2016 from Daniel High School.

Dove is planning to head to Switzerland in January. In the meantime, he is starting to pursue his Ph.D. in electrical engineering from the University of California, Berkeley.

Dove said he is glad he chose Clemson for his undergraduate education.

“I have had the best experience here academically,” he said. “All the people are just incredible. I’ve enjoyed all my classes. All my professors have been supportive and personable. There were lots of one-on-one opportunities to make new connections.”

Dove said some of the Clemson faculty members who were supportive of his efforts were: Daniel Noneaker, associate dean for research in the College of Engineering, Computing and Applied Sciences; Garrett Pataky, an assistant professor of mechanical engineering; Lin Zhu, a professor of electrical and computer engineering; and Chad Sosolik, professor of physics and astronomy.

As he looks ahead, Dove said that he is closely monitoring the COVID-19 situation. He plans to adhere to any guidelines set by participating universities and the Fulbright U.S. Student Program.

Hai Xiao, chair of the Holcombe Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering at Clemson, said that Dove’s Fulbright grant is a testament to his outstanding scholarship and hard work.

“I offer Charles my wholehearted congratulations,” Xiao said. “The Fulbright Program is highly prestigious, and Charles is highly deserving. He is well positioned to serve as an excellent ambassador for Clemson and the United States.”