Ten U.Va. Graduate Students Earn NSF fellowships

May 8, 2012 — Twelve University of Virginia graduate and graduating fourth-year students have earned National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowships beginning this fall. They are among 2,000 selected by NSF from universities and colleges nationwide. There were 12,669 applicants.

"This is a competitive fellowship that provides funding for three years to each student," said Phillip Trella, U.Va. assistant vice president for graduate studies. "This is good news for the University and is a good marker for how healthy our graduate programs are."

This is the second time 10 or more NSF graduate fellows were selected from U.Va.; last year, 14 were chosen. Additionally, 18 students received honorable mention in the fellowships competition.

The funding is geared toward students in the early stages of graduate degrees in all areas of science.

The students each receive a $30,000 stipend per year to pursue their studies, plus a $10,500 annual cost-of-education allowance for tuition and fees. As part of the fellowship, the University agrees to pay the rest of the students' tuition and fees. U.Va.'s Office of the Vice President for Research generally pays this differential through its External Fellowship Supplement program, though the University's individual schools sometimes pay the difference.

"We're very pleased to see continued success of our students applying for these awards, especially this year in psychology and biomedical engineering," Trella said. "Overall, I think that we've done a better job in recent years of getting our students prepared for the application process, but there is still room for improvement. In the coming years we'd like to see many more of these awards coming to U.Va."

This year's fellowship winners will be conducting graduate work, in biomedical engineering, developmental psychology and social psychology. Four of them, all in biomedical engineering, earned their bachelor's degrees from U.Va.

Additionally, U.Va. undergraduate alumni at other institutions have won NSF graduate fellowships. They include Megan Barron, Daniel Bryant, Sarah Ebmeier, Ruffin Evans, Carolina Ferrerosa, Benjamin Foster, Max Friedfeld, Joseph Nelson, Avery Paxton, Charles Shields, Elizabeth Schrack, Alison Schroer and Yuh Wang.

The U.Va. graduate and undergraduate students with NSF fellowships are:

• Sameer Subhash Bajikar, biomedical engineering

• Samantha Ann Clark, biomedical engineering

• Adam Joseph Dixon, biomedical engineering

• Lucy Adeline Guarnera, developmental psychology

• Kelly Marie Hoffman, social psychology

• Lindsay Patricia Juarez, social psychology

• Calvin K. Lai, social psychology

• Erin Leigh Maresh, social psychology

• Hannah Ruth Brittany Meredith, biomedical engineering

• Claire Eliza Segar, biomedical engineering

– by Fariss Samarrai