Twelve engineering students receive NSF graduate fellowships

Twelve current engineering graduate students have received graduate research fellowships from the National Science Foundation, which announced April 1 the 2014 class of fellows.

They are Thomas Werfel, Joseph Thomas Sharick and Abigail M. Searfoss, biomedical engineering; Joseph Weinstein-Webb and William Robert Erwin, chemical engineering; Addisu Zerihun Taddese, Michael Allen Seibold and Joshua Stephen Fain, electrical engineering; Chelsea Peters, environmental engineering; Peter Amos York, Andria Annette Remirez and Elissa Danielle Ledoux, mechanical engineering.

Two engineering undergraduate students who also received NSF graduate fellowships will be pursuing their graduate studies elsewhere. They are mechanical engineering seniors Dylan Patrick Losey, who will enter Rice University, and Kevin Alexander Bush, currently undecided. Recent biomedical engineering graduates Cheryl Lau and Chelsey Smith have received fellowships. Lau is attending Georgia Tech. Smith is attending Rice.

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 $130,000 each, are awarded directly to students and provides three years of financial support within a five-year fellowship period. That support includes $32,000 per year for three years for graduate study and $12,000 allowance annually for three years of tuition.

NSF received more than 14,000 applications for the 2014 competition and made 2,000 fellowship award offers. Among the 2,000 awardees, 1,069 are women, 382 are from underrepresented minority groups, 55 are persons with disabilities, and 37 are veterans. The fellows in the 2014 class come from 442 baccalaureate institutions, 58 more than in 2010, when the program first began awarding 2,000 fellowships each year.

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 former U.S. Secretary of Energy Steven Chu, Google founder Sergey Brin, and many Nobel Prize winners.