University of Rochester senior Patricia McHale, who is completing her bachelor's degree with a major in mechanical engineering and a minor in materials science, has been awarded a National Science Foundation (NSF) Graduate Research fellowship. McHale plans to pursue a graduate degree in mechanical engineering at Stanford University, focusing on alternative and sustainable energy methods and sources that can reduce dependence on foreign fuel supplies.
The NSF Graduate Research Fellowships are awarded to outstanding college and university students in the natural sciences, selected social sciences, mathematics, and engineering. The award provides support for three years of graduate study leading to a research-based master's or doctoral degree. Selection is based on academic record, previous research experience, and proposed plan of research. Approximately 1,000 NSF Graduate Research Fellows are named each year.
McHale interned for three summers at the Air Force Research Laboratory in Rome, N.Y., most recently working in the Radio Frequency Technology branch. She was involved in the design project for a tail wing storage unit for the new Joint Strike Fighter and also worked on a hydraulic jack for the now-canceled Comanche helicopter.
At the University of Rochester, McHale is a teaching assistant for mechanical engineering courses and participates in Mini Baja, a student group that works on the design, construction, and racing of ATV vehicles. In addition, McHale has competed with the University's swimming and diving team since her freshman year and participates in club gymnastics. A perennial dean's list student, McHale is a member of three national honor societies. She is the recipient of the Susan B. Anthony Scholarship, awarded by the University of Rochester Women's Club for leadership and academic excellence, and of an American Society of Mechanical Engineers Foundation Scholarship.
A resident of Holland Patent, N.Y., McHale is the daughter of U.S. Air Force Colonel Robert and Gertrude McHale and a graduate of Holland Patent Central High School.