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Twenty-nine U of I students awarded NSF Graduate Research Fellowships

Twenty-nine students at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have been awarded Graduate Research Fellowships from the National Science Foundation. Twenty-seven of those are graduate students; two are undergraduates. An additional 38 students received Honorable Mention.

The NSF Graduate Research Fellowship Program (GRFP) is one of the nation’s most prestigious of fellowship programs. It supports students pursuing graduate degrees in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics fields, with the goal of strengthening the vitality of the US science and engineering enterprise. Given that NSF evaluates applications according to the agency’s two review criteria – “Intellectual Merit” and “Broader Impacts” – awardees must demonstrate the highest potential not only for conducting cutting edge scientific research but also for using their research and related skills to better society. 

Sarah Lubienski, interim dean of the Graduate College, says, “I am so proud of our students who won the NSF-GRF awards. The Graduate College is pleased to partner with units across campus to promote our students’ success, and I’m especially grateful for all the faculty who encouraged their students to apply and supported them in preparing their applications.”

Awardees receive three years of support for their graduate educations, complete with an annual stipend of $34,000 and a $12,000 cost-of-education allowance to cover tuition and fees. Fellows may also take advantage of GRFP professional development opportunities including the Graduate Research Opportunities Worldwide (GROW) program, which encourages students to conduct research in overseas labs, and the Graduate Research Internship Program (GRIP), which offers hands-on work experiences in federal agencies. Fellows also have access to supercomputing facilities through XSEDE, the Extreme Science and Engineering Discovery Environment.

“Earning an NSF-GRF is a tremendous honor,” says Ken Vickery, director of the Graduate College Office of External Fellowships. “It means that leaders in the nation's science community have placed their faith in that student’s ability to use scientific research as a force for good in the world. With so many awardees and Honorable Mentions this year, clearly the University of Illinois is nurturing some of the most promising young researchers in the country.” 

Launched in 1952, the NSF-GRFP is the oldest fellowship program of its kind. This year, over 16,500 students nationwide applied, and 2,000 of them received fellowship offers. An additional 2,004 received Honorable Mention. 

The following U of I students were offered fellowships:

David Robert Brandyberry (Aerospace Engineering)
Mark Alan Burgess (Chemistry)
Diane Marie Byrne (Civil & Environmental Engineering)
Christopher Matthew Chini (Civil & Environmental Engineering)
Stella Choi (Atmospheric Sciences)
Martha Rayala Cuenca (Civil & Environmental Engineering)
Steven Robert Doonan (Chemistry)
Sage Jerolds Birtcher Dunham (Chemistry)
Yung Kong (Anthony) Fan (Mechanical Science & Engineering)
Chase Aaron Geigle (Computer Science)
Cecilia Klauber (Electrical & Computer Engineering)
Jeffrey Stephen Kwang (Civil & Environmental Engineering)
Jia Gloria Lee (Physics)
Mara Rose Livezey (Molecular & Cellular Biology)
Jacob Daniel McAlpin (Chemistry)
Erin Katherine Molloy (Computer Science)
Keegan James Moore (Mechanical Science & Engineering)
Daniel Stephen Mosiman (Civil & Environmental Engineering)
Gelson Josue Pagan Diaz (Bioengineering)
Herschel Cyrus Pangborn (Mechanical Science & Engineering)
Ellen Qin (Chemical & Biomolecular Engineering)
Joshua Schiller (Mechanical Science & Engineering)
Jessica Siler (Psychology)
Donggyu Benjamin Sohn (Mechanical Science & Engineering)
Meredith Staub (Physics)
Svjetlana Stekovic (Mechanical Science & Engineering)
Taylor Tobin (Astronomy)
Laura Wadleigh (Physics)
Gabrielle Elizabeth Wroblewski (Aerospace Engineering)
The following U of I students received Honorable Mention:
Nicholas Anderson (Entomology)
Robert Davis Born (Mechanical Science & Engineering)
Melody Buyukozer Dawkins (Psychology)
Jacob Samuel Calvert (Bioengineering)
Aimee Carbaugh (Archaeology)
Nuole Chen (Political Science)
Patrick Thomas Corona (Chemical & Biomolecular Engineering)
Maximilian Cuddy (Sociology)
Fadwa Fares Dababneh (Industrial Engineering)
Bryce Hunter Fore (Physics)
Stephen Thomas Gill (Physics)
Jason Hempstead (Physics)
Anthony Robert Hesser (Chemistry)
Jennifer Marie Jones (Ecology, Evolution, & Conservation Biology)
Jiahui Liang (Mechanical Science & Engineering)
Robyn Lindsay Macdonald (Aerospace Engineering)
Charles Markus (Chemistry)
Sean W. McLaughlin (Physics)
Elizabeth Carol Miller (Chemistry)
Lauren Elizabeth Milling (Bioengineering)
Timothy Patrick Moneypenny (Chemistry)
Jared M. Morrissette (Mechanical Science & Engineering)
Anusha Nagabandi (Electrical & Computer Engineering)
HongAn (Mary) Thuy Nguyen (Aerospace Engineering)
Robert Glenn Nystrom (Atmospheric Sciences)
Amy Katherine Oreskovic (Bioengineering)
Alexander D. Palmer (Biology)
Sarah Perlmutter (Chemistry)
Bryan Allen Plummer (Computer Science)
Brian Harrison Rhodes (Crop Sciences)
Aaron Roth (Chemistry)
Carly Sandin (Mechanical Science & Engineering)
William Joslyn Scarborough (Sociology)
Timothy Smith (Mechanical Science & Engineering)
Anasheh Sookezian (Chemistry)
Courtney Nicole Talicska (Chemistry)
Yipu Wang (Computer Science)
Andrew Zhao (Materials Science & Engineering)

For more information about the NSF-GRF program, including a list of all awardees and Honorable Mention designees nationwide, see the NSF-GRFP website,