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Roberta Pokphanh
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NSF Graduate Research Fellows announced

Fri, 04/04/2014

LAWRENCE — Six students and alumni from the University of Kansas have been awarded National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowships for 2014-2015. In addition, eight students and alumni have been recognized with honorable mentions in the competition.

"I’m excited and honored to receive the NSF Graduate Fellowship. A great aspect of this award is that it emphasizes innovation and creativity," said Jeremy Ims, doctoral student in aerospace engineering. "I’m interested in integrating ideas from math and the hard sciences to broaden the predictive power of aerospace-related computer simulation.”

Alex Erwin, doctoral student in ecology and evolutionary biology, said, “I had applied for this fellowship the year before but didn't receive the award the first time. I spent the next year gaining additional research experience, and that allowed me to strengthen my proposal. This research fellowship provides me with excellent opportunities for community outreach, professional development, as well as support to pursue my proposed research project, which examines the effects of the aging process on DNA modifiers in the germline and whether those changes are inherited and influence future generations.”

Regarded as one of the premier fellowship awards in the sciences, they provide a $32,000 stipend each year for three years of graduate study plus an allowance of $12,000 to the institution for educational expenses. Each year, the fellowship program receives more than 13,000 applications and awards for approximately 2,000 fellowships. NSF fellowships are intended for individuals in the early stages of graduate study.

Graduate Studies and the Center for Undergraduate Research co-host an NSF fellowship application workshop each fall.

“Strong applications for the NSF fellowship require a great deal of effort. Constructive feedback on application materials is key to a competitive application,” said Jennifer Gleason, associate professor of ecology & evolutionary biology, who teaches a seminar each year on the application process.

“All of the KU undergraduate students who competed for this fellowship have had an undergraduate research experience,” said John Augusto, assistant vice provost for the Center for Undergraduate Research. “KU has a strong tradition of attracting high-ability undergraduate students who complete research experiences with faculty. Our students are very competitive for this national fellowship.”

The awardees and honorable mentions are listed below with their program (and, for graduate student awardees, their faculty adviser and research focus).

NSF fellowship recipients:

  • Stephen Baca, of Albuquerque, N.M.; master’s student in ecology & evolutionary biology; faculty adviser, Andrew Short
  • Alexandra Erwin, of Ozark, Mo.; doctoral student in ecology and evolutionary biology; faculty adviser, Justin Blumenstiel
  • Jeremy Ims, of Overland Park; doctoral student in aerospace engineering; faculty adviser, Z.J. Wang
  • Kevin Song, of Lawrence; bachelor’s recipient in chemical engineering
  • Jason Stevens, of Wichita; bachelor’s recipient in mathematics
  • William VanSkike, of Norman, Okla.; master’s student in aerospace engineering; faculty adviser, Rick Hale.

Honorable mentions:

  • Jason Bates, of Overland Park, bachelor’s student in chemical engineering
  • Lauren Beesley, of Overland Park, bachelor’s recipient in mathematics
  • Kimberly Box, of Wichita, bachelor’s recipient in biology
  • Lauren Covey, of Phoenix, doctoral student in linguistics
  • Erin Diel, of Overland Park, bachelor’s recipient in biology
  • Carla Fernandez, of Lawrence, bachelor’s recipient in biology
  • Justin Mann, of Kansas City, Mo., doctoral student in physics
  • Kathryn Scherich, of Emporia, bachelor’s student in chemical engineering.


Matt Menzenski, a graduate student in Slavic languages & literatures, took this photo during President Obama’s speech at KU Thursday. Menzenski says he was struck by how relaxed the president was in his delivery. He missed a chance to hear former President Bill Clinton speak in his hometown in 2004, but finally got to see a sitting president this week at KU. “The opportunity to hear the president speak is just one of many great opportunities I've had at KU. So many interesting talks and events happen here all the time. I try to attend at least one a week-- it's never hard to find something interesting to go to.” Tags: University of Kansas College of Liberal Arts and Sciences KU School of Languages, Literatures & Cultures KU Dept of Slavic Languages - Friends & Alumni Barack Obama The White House #exploreKU #POTUSatKU

RT @KU _Football: Kansas leads @Big12Conference & is 1-of-7 schools in the NCAA to have 3 or more players tabbed for the 2015 Pro Bowl http:…
Explore KU: The Bells of Mount Oread KU’s Campanile, a 120-foot-tall timepiece that tolls automatically on the hour and quarter-hour, not only sounded in the 2015 New Year at midnight with 12 mighty gongs, but also regularly rings up memories for many Jayhawks – the 277 faculty and students who gave their lives during World War II, the graduates who walk through its doors at commencement, and aspiring students who have strolled through the Lawrence campus. (See http://bit.ly/1xjjwJj). For nearly 60 years, KU’s 53-bell carillon has been tolling the sounds of peace and serenity across Mount Oread since it was installed in June 1955 inside the landmark World War II Memorial Campanile, which was dedicated in 1951. (See http://bit.ly/1BoL9jv) The carillon is also a four-octave musical instrument, which is played with a giant keyboard and foot pedals. University Carillonneur Elizabeth Egber-Berghout (http://bit.ly/14fiBPl), associate professor of carillon and organ, climbs 77 steps up a spiral staircase in the bell tower to perform recitals several times a month.


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Nearly $290 million in financial aid annually
46 nationally ranked graduate programs.
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