University of Rochester

12 Rochester Students Awarded Fellowships for Graduate Research

May 9, 2011

Twelve University of Rochester students and seven alumni have been named recipients of the National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowships. Additionally, 20 current students and recent alumni also were given honorable mentions by the NSF. The fellowship, which is part of a federally sponsored program, provides up to three years of graduate study support for students pursing doctoral or research-based master's degrees. Since the program's inception in 1952, it has supported nearly 50,000 students conducting research in science, technology, engineering, mathematics, and selected social science disciplines. Of the more than 12,000 applicants, only 2,000 were awarded fellowships and 2,064 were given honorable mentions.

The fellowship includes a three-year annual stipend of $30,000, a $10,500 educational allowance to the institution, and international research opportunities. Danielle Benoit, assistant professor in biomedical and chemical engineering at Rochester, says that the financial support provides students the flexibility to attend conferences, participate in training programs, and travel to meet with other researchers in their field.

"For young students, earning an NSF fellowship really shows that they have substantial ability in conducting research," she explains. Benoit, who was awarded a Graduate Research Fellowship in 2004, says that by going through the application process, students also gain a greater understanding and appreciation of the fiscal side of research.

Belinda Redden, director of fellowships at Rochester, agrees that the application process is demanding. "It is a significant undertaking, requiring three separate essays on past research, proposed plan of research in graduate school, and a personal statement," says Redden. "I am very proud to see this level of success for Rochester students and alumni in such a prestigious fellowship competition; they are expected to be future leaders in their fields, and this early public affirmation of their potential is tremendously important."

The following graduating seniors received fellowships:

  • Alexander Federation '11, bachelors of science in cell and developmental biology, chemistry; Harvard University
  • Francis Ferraro '11, bachelors of science in computer science, mathematics, minor in linguistics; Johns Hopkins University, also awarded a National Defense Science & Engineering Graduate Fellowship, which he declined in accepting the NSF fellowship
  • Benjamin Freedman '11, bachelor of science in biomedical engineering; University of Pennsylvania
  • Caitlyn Rose Kennedy '11, bachelor of science in chemistry; Harvard University
  • Adam Kozak '11, bachelor of science in biomedical engineering, minor in optics; Duke University
  • Victoria Massie '11, bachelor of arts in anthropology, African and African-American Studies; University of California at Berkeley
  • Christina Rossi '11, bachelor of science in mechanical engineering; Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University
  • Hannah Watkins '11, bachelor of science in biomedical engineering, minors in chemical engineering, biology, also awarded a 2011-12 Fulbright Scholarship and Whitaker International Fellowship to the United Kingdom; Cornell

The following graduating seniors received honorable mentions:

  • Gregory Bentsen '11, bachelor of science in physics, bachelor of arts in mathematics, minor in electrical engineering
  • Isthier Chaudhury '11, bachelor of science in chemical engineering, bachelor of arts Chinese studies
  • Patrick Sheehan '11, bachelor of science in physics and astronomy, bachelor of arts in mathematics
  • Danielle Wedde '11, bachelor of arts in mathematics, minor in physics
  • David Weinberg '11, bachelor of science in chemistry

The following graduate students received fellowships:

  • Laura Ackerman, doctoral degree candidate in chemistry, The Weix Group
  • Cory Bonn, '10E, master of arts in theory, '06E, bachelor of music in applied music, doctoral degree candidate in brain and cognitive sciences, The Rochester Baby Lab
  • David Kleinschmidt, doctoral degree candidate in brain and cognitive sciences, Center for Language Sciences
  • Randy Sabatini, doctoral degree candidate in chemistry, McCamant and Eisenberg Labs

The following graduate students received honorable mentions:

  • Keturah Bixby, doctoral degree candidate in brain and cognitive sciences
  • Esteban Buz, doctoral degree candidate in brain and cognitive sciences
  • Peter Carlsen, doctoral degree candidate in chemistry
  • Michael Hoffman'09, bachelor of science in biomedical engineering, doctoral degree candidate in biomedical engineering
  • Kimberly Manbeck, doctoral degree candidate in chemistry
  • Jennifer Merickel, doctoral degree candidate in brain and cognitive sciences

The following recent alumni, who are currently pursing advanced degrees elsewhere, received fellowships:

  • Randy Mehlenbacher '10, bachelors of science in chemistry, physics; University of Wisconsin at Madison
  • Benjamin Sabari '10, bachelor of science in molecular genetics, minor in creative writing; The Rockefeller University
  • Joseph Bedont '09, bachelor of science in neuroscience, bachelor of arts in psychology, minor in chemistry; Johns Hopkins University
  • Benjamin Schmitt '08, bachelor of science in physics and astronomy, bachelor of arts in mathematics, German; University of Pennsylvania; also awarded a 2008-09 Fulbright Scholarship to Germany
  • Katherine Sharp '07, bachelor of science in biochemistry, minor in French; Stanford University
  • Marc Perez '06, bachelor of science in optics, bachelor of arts in physics; Columbia University
  • Osazonamen Jessica Igbinosun '03, bachelor of science in physics and astronomy, minor in Japanese; University of Washington

The following recent alumni, who are currently pursing advanced degrees elsewhere, received honorable mentions:

  • LaShonda Brenson '10, bachelor of arts in political science, mathematics; University of Michigan
  • Bradley Christensen '10, bachelor of science in physics, minor in mathematics, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
  • John Golden '10, bachelor of science in physics, bachelor of arts in mathematics; Brown University
  • Kathleen Mulvaney '10, bachelor of science in molecular genetics; University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
  • Kristine Wadosky '09, bachelor of science in molecular genetics, bachelor of arts in English; University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
  • Samantha Falk '08, bachelor of science in molecular genetics, bachelor of arts in chemistry, minor in French; University of Pennsylvania
  • Adam Williamson '08, bachelor of science in electrical and computer engineering, bachelor of arts in physics; University of California at Los Angeles
  • Gregory Hardy '07, bachelor of science in biomedical engineering, minors in chemical engineering and biology; Duke University
  • Christopher Clingerman '09, bachelor of science in computer science, minor in mathematics, '10 master of science in computer science; University of Pennsylvania




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