The National Science Foundation has awarded 32 Graduate Research Fellowships to Rice-affiliated students.
Nineteen are current or incoming graduate students. Nine are current Rice undergraduates, and seven are Rice undergraduate alumni (three of whom are also current Rice graduate students) An additional six Rice-affiliated students received an Honorable Mention.
NSF GRFP is a five-year fellowship that provides three years of financial support for students early in their graduate careers in science, technology, math and engineering. Fellows are provided three years of financial support within a five-year fellowship period, including a $37,000 annual stipend and a $12,000 cost-of-education allowance to the graduate institution.
“While we celebrate with those who have won the NSF or received an honorable mention, we want to recognize that the hardest part of this process can often be hitting the ‘submit’ button,” said Seiichi Matsuda, dean of graduate and postdoctoral studies (GPS). “We want to recognize all of the students who completed the application and put in significant effort and hard work throughout the process.”
At Rice, the GPS office provides a fellowship coaching program, run by Vanessa Espinoza Ph.D. ‘22, which helps grad students approach fellowship applications for awards like the NSF GRFP.
Espinoza, a postdoctoral associate in GPS, found an eager group of coaches and applicants to work with in the fall.
“Seeing that enthusiasm from students was really exciting,” she said. “The time they put into the writing workshops and with their coaches is reflected in the outcome.”
Students are able to request a fellowship coach at any point during the year. Tia Gray, a second-year Ph.D. student in the Department of Materials Science and NanoEngineering, requested to work with a GPS coach after getting feedback from colleagues in her department.
“I was encouraged by everyone who had applied previously, and after my first meeting with my coach, Carly Graverson, I knew it would be my ticket to success. I feel very excited, grateful and hopeful.”
Gray said the process of working with Graverson was collaborative and insightful.
“Carly really helped me understand the common theme in all of the activities I’m involved in, and that theme centered on mentorship and helping students explore their passion for science. I dug into those experiences and it helped me organize my career goals.”
“Everyone has a story,” said Graverson. “How I approach coaching is to help students tie together and apply a common theme of why the NSF will help you achieve a specific goal.”
“The process of writing the proposal is valuable regardless of the outcome,” she added. “It’s a good way of reflecting on where you want to go, and it also helps you lay out a research plan, because you’re compelled to lay out your goals and hypotheses.”
Graverson plans to continue coaching in the fall, and noted she enjoys coaching for many reasons, but one is that it’s good practice for herself to write these proposals.
“Fellowships are always worth pursuing, even if you don’t feel confident you will win. The only reason not to pursue a fellowship is if you’re not eligible.”
Current Graduate students:
Clark Wendell Hamor - Life Sciences - Biochemistry
Eugene Chung - Engineering - Bioengineering
Matthew Lee - Engineering - Bioengineering
Eric Jordan Gomez - Chemistry - Macromolecular, Supramolecular, and Nanochemistry
Amanda Potts - Life Sciences - Evolutionary Biology
Sadie N Brasel - Engineering - Electrical and Electronic Engineering
Anderson Roy Phillips - Engineering - Electrical and Electronic Engineering
Autumn Bruncz - Engineering - Optical Engineering
Spencer Williams - Engineering - Mechanical Engineering
Karyssa Courey - Psychology - Industrial/Organizational Psychology
Kevin Michael McCoy - Mathematical Sciences - Statistics
Diego Gonzalez - Engineering - Biomedical Engineering
Tia Gray - Engineering - Materials Engineering
Incoming graduate students:
Katie Dannette Leonard - Engineering - Chemical Engineering
Emma Raisley - Engineering - Biomedical Engineering
Gillian Audia - Engineering - Bioengineering
Renallan C Neckles - Engineering - Environmental Engineering
Aislinn C Smith - Mathematical Sciences - Topology
Damon Renel Spencer - Mathematical Sciences - Applied Mathematics
Cameron Diao - Comp/IS/Eng - Machine Learning
Colter Decker Engineering - Mechanical Engineering
Hazel Disney-McKeethen - Life Sciences - Microbial Biology
Brandon Nicholas Khek - Physics and Astronomy - Theoretical Physics
Matan Alon Lieber-Kotz - Engineering - Chemical Engineering
Ruoyu Qian - Chemistry - Chemical Catalysis
Zachary Thomas Rewolinski - Mathematical Sciences - Statistics
Vi Vo - Engineering - Mechanical Engineering
Benjamin Walls - Engineering - Chemical Engineering
Tia Gray - Engineering - Materials Engineering (current Rice PhD student)
Diego Gonzalez - Engineering - Biomedical Engineering (current Rice PhD student)
Maya Levitan - Engineering - Biomedical Engineering
Anderson Roy Phillips - Engineering - Electrical and Electronic Engineering (current Rice PhD student)
Dru Myerscough - Life Sciences - Structural Biology
Adrian Yao - Materials Research - Electrochemical energy storage
Jinjiang Zhang - Psychology - Cognitive Neuroscience
NSF Honorable Mentions:
Current Graduate Students:
Fariha Noor Ahmad - Engineering - Bioengineering
Lorenzo Castelli - Engineering - Mechanical Engineering
Keren Reichler - Social Sciences - Cultural Anthropology
Malyn Selinidis - Life Sciences - Microbial Biology
Incoming Graduate Students:
Lily Metsker - Life Sciences - Microbial Biology
Alexander Xiong - Engineering - Artificial Intelligence