Seventeen Vanderbilt engineering students awarded prestigious NSF Graduate Research Fellowships

Eleven Vanderbilt engineering graduate students are 2023 recipients of five-year National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowships. Six engineering undergraduate students who will continue their graduate study elsewhere also have received NSF Graduate Research Fellowships.

“With a total of 17 Vanderbilt engineering students recognized with this prestigious fellowship this year, our students continue the recent trend of have a strong showing in the NSF Graduate Research Fellowship Program,” said E. Duco Jansen, senior associate dean for Graduate Education and Faculty Affairs. “These fellowships are extremely competitive, so to get this many awarded is a tremendous recognition of our outstanding students and our faculty mentors.  The graduate student cohort that is matriculating this fall will include several additional NSF recipients, but we’re still finalizing the exact number.”

The NSF Graduate Research Fellowship Program supports students who are pursuing full-time, research-based graduate degrees in science, technology, engineering or math. Recipients receive financial support for their education and an annual stipend to support their research and career endeavors. Each of those fellowships represents close to $ 150,000 in funding. It is one of the most prestigious awards for graduate students, with about 16% of applicants awarded each year.

The 11 current graduate student winners are:

  • Madison Bates (Biomedical Engineering)
  • Piper Cannon (Mechanical Engineering)
  • Kieran Nehil-Puleo (Interdisciplinary Materials Science)
  • Zane Parkerson (Chemical Engineering)
  • Michael Quan (Mechanical Engineering)
  • Laura Richardson (Chemical Engineering)
  • Amelia Soltes (Biomedical Engineering)
  • Madeline Spetz (Biomedical Engineering)
  • Morgan Struthers (Biomedical Engineering)
  • Nicole Marguerite Taylor (Chemical Engineering)
  • Angela Totoro (Biomedical Engineering) 

The six engineering undergraduate winners are:

  • Patrick Darmawi-Iskandar (Electrical and Computer Engineering)
  • Andrew Hanna (Biomedical Engineering)
  • Hari Kush (Electrical and Computer Engineering and Biomedical Engineering)
  • Mariana Smith (Mechanical Engineering)
  • Alexander Stoneman (Chemical Engineering)
  • Madison Veliky (Biomedical Engineering)

There are 76 NSF GRF awardees at Vanderbilt University currently, 47 of those in the School of Engineering:  Biomedical Engineering (31), Mechanical Engineering (6), Chemical Engineering (5), Computer Science (2), Civil Engineering (2), Interdisciplinary Materials Science (1).

Begun in 1952, this fellowship program is the oldest and most prestigious of its kind; 42 recipients have gone on to become Nobel laureates, and more than 450 have become members of the National Academy of Sciences.

Contact: Brenda Ellis,