32 students and alumni earn NSF fellowships or honorable mentions

Author: Erin Blasko

The National Science Foundation (NSF) has awarded scholarships to 22 University of Notre Dame students and alumni as part of the 2021 Graduate Research Fellowship Program (GRFP), with an additional 10 students and alumni singled out for honorable mention for the award.

Inaugurated in 1952, the NSF GRFP recognizes and supports outstanding students in the NSF-supported STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) disciplines who are pursuing research-based master’s and doctoral degrees at accredited U.S. institutions. It is the oldest graduate fellowship of its kind.

Twenty-two GRFP fellows is the second-most ever for Notre Dame. Combined with the honorable mentions, it is the third-most ever for the University in terms of the total number of students recognized.

The program offers three years of financial support in the form of a $34,000 annual stipend and a $12,000 cost-of-education allowance, in addition to professional development and international research opportunities. 

The application process for the NSF GRFP is extensive. Applicants work in conjunction with their advisers to create compelling personal statements and research plans. In addition, applicants from Notre Dame have the opportunity to receive strategic expert advice. Notre Dame’s undergraduate students and alumni work with the Flatley Center for Undergraduate Scholarly Engagement (CUSE), and its graduate students work with the fellowship advising team at the Graduate School’s Office of Grants and Fellowships, one of the only full-time fellowship advising offices in the country dedicated exclusively to graduate students.

“I’d like to congratulate all of those who were recognized by the NSF GRFP this year,” said Jeffrey Thibert, the Paul and Maureen Stefanick Director of CUSE. “This year we’ve had a record number of undergraduates and undergraduate alumni receive the fellowship, and so I’d like to give special thanks both to CUSE’s NSF GRFP adviser, Emily Hunt, and to all of the faculty mentors and advisers who assisted students with their applications.

“A successful application for the NSF GRFP is usually a team effort, and I encourage any undergraduate interested in applying — which should include any undergraduate applying to graduate programs in science, engineering, mathematics, social science and STEM education — to visit cuse.nd.edu/nsf to learn more about how to get advice from CUSE on the process,” Thibert said.

Laura Carlson, vice president, associate provost and dean of the Graduate School, was equally enthusiastic. 

“Students worked tirelessly to prepare their applications and it really shows in the NSF GRFP results,” Carlson said. “Notre Dame believes wholeheartedly that the research our students are engaged in matters. I’m delighted to see the National Science Foundation recognizes this, too.”

The 22 NSF GRFP winners are:

Jeffrey Berning, engineering

Alexandra Bodnar, chemistry

Amanda Brown, engineering

Cecelia Chisdock, social sciences

Kiera Dwyer, engineering

Maggie Fink, life sciences

Lauren Fritz, life sciences

Annelise Gill-Wiehl, social sciences

Mia Hoffman, engineering

Kenya Lee, social sciences

Ethan LoCicero, engineering

Theodore MacMillan, engineering

Siena Mantooth, engineering

Teresa McDonald, life sciences

McKenze Moss, chemistry

Amaryst Parks, social sciences

Rebecca Radomsky, materials research

Cara Ravasio, engineering

Virginia Rodriguez, geosciences

Catalina Vajiac, computational science and engineering

Manuel Vejar, geosciences

Alyssa Wilson, life sciences

The honorable mentions are:

Therese Bonomo, social sciences

Eleanor Clark, life sciences

Patrick Cunniff, life sciences

Lauren Davancaze, life sciences

Yoo Jin Jung, life sciences

Helena Kleiner, life sciences

Anne Knorr, psychology

Jonathan Ouimet, engineering

Phoenix Pedro, social sciences

Timothy Seida, social sciences

Undergraduate students interested in this and other fellowship opportunities can visit CUSE at cuse.nd.edu. Graduate students can email the Office of Grants and Fellowships at gradgrants@nd.edu. 

Contact: Erin Blasko, assistant director of media relations, 574-631-4127, eblasko@nd.edu

Originally published by Erin Blasko at news.nd.edu on March 26, 2021.