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Twenty-one Illinois Students Awarded NSF Graduate Research Fellowships

Twenty-one students at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have been offered Graduate Research Fellowships from the National Science Foundation (NSF). Thirteen are graduate students and eight are undergraduates. An additional fourteen students are accorded Honorable Mention.

Here are the currently enrolled students from the University of Illinois offered awards and accorded Honorable Mention.


  • Katherine Tsai (Electrical & Computer Engineering)
  • Chris Torres (Chemical & Biomolecular Engineering)
  • Maxwell George Tetrick (Chemistry)
  • Dean Reid Price (Nuclear, Plasma & Radiological Engineering)
  • Andria Lauren Pace (Chemistry)
  • Rachel Nicole Nguyen (Physics)
  • Elizabeth Ann Murphy (Chemistry)
  • Sophia McClain (Chemistry)
  • Isabella Lee (Computer Science)
  • Ali Lasemi (Aerospace Engineering)
  • Vasiliki Kolliopoulos (Chemical & Biomolecular Engineering)
  • Alayna Marie Johnson (Chemistry)
  • Allisa Grace Hastie (Civil & Environmental Engineering)
  • Kellie Marie Halloran (Mechanical Science & Engineering)
  • Alexander Thomas Gagliano (Astronomy)
  • Morgan Fong (Computer Science)
  • Destiny Fawley (Aerospace Engineering)
  • John Henry Burke (Chemistry)
  • Abigail Louise Beck (Civil & Environmental Engineering)
  • Paola Alexandra Baldaguez Medina (Chemical & Biomolecular Engineering)
  • Jazmin Emilia Aguilar-Romero (Chemistry)


  • Francis Marion Alcorn (Chemistry)
  • Nickolas Avila (Civil & Environmental Engineering)
  • Maxwell Troy Bland (Computer Science)
  • Catharine Brady (Chemistry)
  • Marissa Helene Chase (Natural Resources and Environmental Sciences)
  • Laura Michelle Daigh (Chemistry)
  • Alyssa DeLucia (Chemistry)
  • Kelly L Gullett (Chemistry)
  • Gabriela Estefania Ibarra (Chemistry)
  • Shaelynn N Kaufman (Geology)
  • Caitlin Sophia Kengle (Physics)
  • Samuel Christian Lapp (Kinesiology & Community Health)
  • Sierra Perez (School of Integrative Biology)
  • Daniel Szczepankiewicz (Chemistry)

Launched in 1952 shortly after Congress established NSF, the Graduate Research Fellowship (GRF) program represents the nation's oldest continuous investment in the U.S. scientific workforce. The program recruits high-potential, early-career researchers and supports their graduate training in science, technology, social science, engineering, and mathematics fields.

Awardees receive three years of support. Support includes a $34,000 annual stipend along with a $12,000 cost-of-education allowance that covers tuition and fees. Awardees also have access to two professional development programs: the Graduate Research Opportunities Worldwide (GROW) program, which supports students  researching in overseas labs, and the Graduate Research Internship (GRIP) program, which provides on-site experience in federal agencies. Fellows also have access to NSF’s Career-Life Balance initiative.

“Now in its 68th year, the NSF-GRF remains among the most prestigious of fellowships for graduate study.  Through its emphasis on "broader impacts," NSF selects students who, through both their science and their extracurricular activities, are dedicated to making the world a better place," said Ken Vickery, director of fellowships in the Graduate College, "If anything, the pandemic has made us painfully aware of how central science should be to many political discussions, and NSF's support of these very publicly-engaged young scientists marks a critical investment along these lines. I congratulate all of this year's awardees and Honorable Mentions."   

A nationwide list of winners  is available on the NSF-GRF FastLane website. For additional details, visit the NSF-GRF webpage.