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Twenty-six Illinois Students Awarded NSF Graduate Research Fellowships

Alma Mater stands in front of a spring background.

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

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

Awardees receive three years of support. Support includes a $37,000 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 INTERN program, which supports research internships in any sector of the U.S. economy. Fellows also have access to NSF’s Career-Life Balance initiative.

Ken Vickery, director of Fellowships in the Graduate College, says, "This year's GRF cohort represents the next generation of STEM leaders who will tackle some of the most pressing problems of the day. Congratulations to each of them for their extraordinary achievement."

Listed below are the awardees and Honorable Mention designees from the University of Illinois. A nationwide list of recipients is available on the NSF-GRF FastLane website.


  • Jonathan Augustus Albrecht (Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering)
  • Eric D. Arredondo (Integrative Biology)
  • Nishant Balepur (Computer Science)
  • Samantha Brown (Chemistry)
  • Rebekah Boone Clapham (Psychology)
  • Henry T. Crawford-Eng (Electrical and Computer Engineering)
  • Jeannette E. Cullum (Ecology, Evolution, and Conservation Biology)
  • Citlali Gutierrez (Chemistry)
  • Luke Jacobs (Electrical and Computer Engineering)
  • Evana Danielle James (Natural Resources and Environmental Sciences)
  • Abhi Kamboj (Electrical and Computer Engineering)
  • Brandon Eikichi Kamiyama (Nuclear, Plasma, and Radiological Engineering)
  • Isaiah Joseph Lopez (Biochemistry)
  • Nikita Gennadevich Lukhanin (Mechanical Science and Engineering)
  • Kameron Medine (Chemistry)
  • Rachel  Moan (Computer Science)
  • Hayden Jackson Moore (Bioengineering)
  • Nicolas Patino (Physics)
  • Seth T. Putnam (Chemistry)
  • Brandon Rasmussen (Chemistry)
  • Fernando Jose Rigal (Physics)
  • Anisha Sharma (Materials Science and Engineering)
  • Andrew Mead Stelzer (Mathematics)
  • Eduardo Tovar (Natural Resources and Environmental Sciences)
  • David Vizgan (Astronomy)
  • Luke Philip Westawker (Chemistry)

Honorable Mention: 

  • Kyle Raymond Abo (Chemistry)
  • Samuel A. Atcheson (Computer Science)
  • Vivian Cheng (Ecology, Evolution, and Conservation Biology)
  • Rebecca Golm (Electrical and Computer Engineering)
  • Morgan K. Gugger (Chemistry)
  • Keshav Kapoor (Physics)
  • Victoria Kindratenko (Bioengineering)
  • Lilian C. Lucas (Earth Science and Environmental Change)
  • Elisia Meyle (Chemistry)
  • Laura Rosok (Neuroscience)
  • Kaitlyn R. Wiegand (Chemistry)
  • Michael John Zakoworotny (Aerospace Engineering)
  • Yu-En Andrew Huang (Molecular and Cellular Biology)
  • Morgan Lynn Letzkus (Microbiology)

For additional details, visit the NSF-GRF webpage. Students applying this fall should consult the NSF-GRF listing in the Graduate College's Fellowship Finder database and are invited to take advantage of the NSF-GRF Summer Writing Lab and one-on-one proposal advising offered by the Graduate College Office of External Fellowships.