Penn State hosts 15 new NSF graduate researchers

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — The Graduate School at Penn State is pleased to host 15 new National Science Foundation (NSF) Graduate Research Fellowship Program (GRFP) award recipients for the 2017-18 academic year.

In addition to these 15 students, there are 69 prior recipients continuing in the University’s graduate degree programs in the Eberly College of Science, College of Agricultural Sciences, College of Education, College of Earth and Mineral Sciences, College of Engineering, College of Health and Human Development, College of Information Sciences and Technology, and College of the Liberal Arts, as well as the Intercollege Graduate Degree Programs.

The NSF program supports outstanding graduate students in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) disciplines; those in STEM education and learning research; and those in social and behavioral sciences, who are pursuing research-based master's and doctoral degrees.

The 2017-18 class of new fellows at the University are:

  •  Tarik Acevedo, ecology
  •  Megan Baumann, geography
  •  Kayla Cooley, materials science and engineering
  •  Joseph Dawson, chemistry
  •  Lily Doershuk, anthropology
  •  Megan Farell, chemical engineering
  •  Margarita Hernandez, anthropology
  •  Eden Kinkaid, geography
  •  Chelsey Laurencin, meteorology
  •  Mariah MacDonald, astronomy and astrophysics
  •  Phillip Martin, plant pathology
  •  Jennifer Miller, chemistry
  •  Kyle Munson, chemistry
  •  Rachel Nydegger Rozum, ecology
  •  Ismaiel Szink, ecology

“The Graduate School at Penn State congratulates these 15 new fellows,” said Regina Vasilatos-Younken, vice provost for graduate education and dean of the Graduate School. “With only 2,000 NSF-GRFP Fellowships awarded to over 13,000 applicants from across the country, these individuals are among the most talented scholars in research doctorate programs, and we expect great things from them.”

According to the NSF website, “as the oldest graduate fellowship of its kind, the GRFP has a long history of selecting recipients who achieve high levels of success in their future academic and professional careers.” The website states that, “fellows benefit from a three-year annual stipend of $34,000 along with a $12,000 cost of education allowance for tuition and fees (paid to the institution), opportunities for international research and professional development, and the freedom to conduct their own research at any accredited U.S. institution of graduate education they choose.”

The GRFP annual program solicitation was released in July and is available on the NSF website. Applications are accepted via Fastlane, the NSF's official online information and business transaction center. Application deadlines begin in late October and vary depending on the field of study.

NSF-supported fields of study include: chemistry, computer and information science and engineering, engineering, geosciences, life sciences, materials research, mathematical sciences, physics and astronomy, psychology, social sciences (including humanities), and STEM education and learning research.

The Graduate School’s Office of Graduate Fellowships and Awards Administration, in collaboration with the University Fellowships Office, sponsored an information session on Sept. 19 for students to learn more about the NSF GRFP from Penn State faculty members who shared their experiences with the program and offered advice on developing stronger applications for submission.

For additional information on the GRFP, contact the Office of Graduate Fellowships and Awards Administration at or 814-865-2514.

Last Updated October 23, 2017