Record year for Vanderbilt engineering NSF graduate fellowships

Ten current engineering graduate students recently received graduate research fellowships from the National Science Foundation.

“Ten awards in a single year is a new high water mark for the School of Engineering,” said George Cook, the School’s Associate Dean for Research and Graduate Studies. “These are outstanding engineering students who have clearly demonstrated remarkable scholarship and are set to do extraordinary work and research. Congratulations to them and their faculty mentors.”

The NSF Graduate Research Fellowship Program (GRFP) provides fellowships to individuals selected early in their graduate careers based on their demonstrated potential for significant achievements in science and engineering.

Support is provided by the program for graduate study that is in a field within NSF’s mission and leads to a research-based master’s or doctoral degree at accredited U.S. institutions. The fellowships, valued at more than $120,000 each, include $30,000 per year for three years for graduate study and $10,500 annually for three years of tuition.

Biomedical engineering graduate students receiving fellowships are Brittany Caldwell, Brian Evans, Kristin Poole, Allison Schroer and Alexandra Walsh. Also, biomedical engineering senior Catherine Majors is among a select group of undergraduate recipients of the NSF GRFP. She will pursue her graduate studies at Rice University this fall.

“The success of our GRFP candidates is consistent with the rising national recognition of the outstanding research conducted in the School of Engineering and of its faculty.  It also reflects the increasing quality of the students who consider Vanderbilt engineering for graduate studies,” said Todd Giorgio, chair of the biomedical engineering department.

Mechanical engineering graduate students receiving fellowships are Bryson Brewer, Benjamin Gasser, Hunter Gilbert and Philip Swaney.

“This is the largest number of these awards in a single year to mechanical engineering graduate students,” said Robert Pitz, chair of the mechanical engineering department. “I believe this demonstrates the strong training and research culture in the School, and we hope this trend will continue.”

Fellowship recipient Kelsey Ross Beavers is a graduate student in the Interdisciplinary Program in Materials Science.

GRFP is a critical program in NSF’s overall strategy in developing the globally-engaged workforce necessary to ensure America’s leadership in advancing science and engineering research and innovation.

According to the NSF, “As the oldest graduate fellowship of its kind, the Graduate Research Fellowship Program has a long history of selecting recipients who achieve high levels of success in their future academic and professional careers.” Previous fellows include U.S. Secretary of Energy Steven Chu; Google founder Sergey Brin; and many Nobel Prize winners.