KU News Release

April 10, 2012
Contact: Roberta Pokphanh, Office of Graduate Studies, 785-864-8040

Nine students, alumni win National Science Foundation fellowships

More Information

LAWRENCE — Nine students and alumni from the University of Kansas have won National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowships for 2012-13.

The recipients include students who earned bachelor’s degrees at KU and will be pursuing graduate degrees at other universities and students pursuing graduate degrees at KU.

Regarded as one of the premier awards in the sciences, the fellowships provide a $30,000 stipend each year for three years of graduate study plus an allowance of $10,500 to the institution for research expenses.

NSF fellowship winners from KU are:

• Jessica Renee Brooks, KU undergraduate in environmental studies, Rich Hill, Mo.

• Natalie M. Freeman, KU undergraduate in dance, Basehor.

• Matthew Robert Hiatt, KU undergraduate in civil engineering, Lawrence.

• Deborah Lyn Kirk, KU graduate student.

• Terra Kachina Lubin, KU graduate student in ecology and evolutionary biology, Lawrence.

• Elizabeth Grace Mahoney, KU undergraduate in chemical engineering, Overland Park.

• Emily Madonna Owens, KU undergraduate in behavioral neuroscience, Lenexa.

• Brandie LeNae Rhodes, KU undergraduate in aerospace engineering, Shawnee.

• Joshua Taylor Williams, KU undergraduate in linguistics, Kansas City, Kan.

Lubin applied for the fellowship following an undergraduate research experience through the Initiative for Maximizing Student Diversity at KU. “Undergraduate research has been an invaluable experience on many levels and helped me to produce a polished and sensible research proposal,” she said.

Kirk emphasized how important the support and encouragement of faculty and staff was during the application process – “My adviser, Dr. Pearce, is amazing. She was my biggest champion and encouraged me to stay focused.”

Additionally, nine graduate students and eight alumni earned honorable mentions in the fellowship competition.

Graduate research fellowships provide an annual stipend plus tuition and discretionary funds for up to three years. The fellowships support students in the early stages of their research-based master’s or doctoral degrees.

Thomas Heilke, Dean of Graduate Studies, said, "The Office of Graduate Studies is working with faculty and students to encourage students to apply for prestigious national fellowships. The success of these students demonstrates the high quality of student research at KU."

Jennifer Gleason, faculty member in ecology and evolutionary biology, emphasized that the award is a great honor that “frees the student to concentrate on his or her research and participate in outreach to the public.” Gleason, as an NSF-designated resource person, provided assistance to several of the students during their application process.

NSF fellowships are intended for individuals in the early stages of graduate study. Fellows must be working on research-based master’s or doctoral degrees in the mathematical, physical, biological, behavioral or social sciences; engineering; the history of science; or the philosophy of science; or research-based doctoral degrees in science education.
For this highly competitive award, applicants must submit research proposals, which are reviewed by expert scientists in their field. NSF fellowship recipients as well as honorable mentions represent the best among young scientists in the United States.

All fellows and honorable mention candidates are listed at the NSF website.

The KU graduate students and recent graduates receiving honorable mentions are listed below.

Diana Sofia Acevedo, KU graduate student in ecology and evolutionary biology, Emporia.

Andrew Aschenbrenner, KU undergraduate in continuing education, St. Louis.

Nameer Rahman Baker, KU undergraduate in anthropology, Manhattan.

Laryssa Leigh Baldridge, KU undergraduate in biology, Wichita.

Rachel Elizabeth Bowes, KU graduate student in ecology and evolutionary biology, Glen Ellyn, Ill.

Marina Drus, KU graduate student in psychology, New York.

Marie-Odile Fortier, KU graduate student in environmental engineering, Gainesville, Fla.

Megan Godsey, KU undergraduate in bioengineering, Lenexa.

Emily Diane Hooker, KU undergraduate in psychology, Andover.

Adam Brax Johnson, KU undergraduate in biology, Salina.

Robin Mei Jones, KU graduate student in ecology and evolutionary biology, Bakersfield, Calif.

Katrina Chervart McClure, KU graduate student in geography, Lawrence.

Patrick Monnahan, KU graduate student in ecology and evolutionary biology, Gunnison, Colo.

Shelbi Lianne Russell, KU undergraduate in biology, Shawnee.

Rachel Saylor, KU graduate student in chemistry, Springfield, Ohio.

Adela Timmons, KU undergraduate in psychology, Lawrence.

Stephen Michael Walker, KU graduate student in ecology and evolutionary biology, Houston.

The University of Kansas is a major comprehensive research and teaching university. University Relations is the central public relations office for KU's Lawrence campus.

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