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Supporting graduate students in STEM

May 15, 2019

Three Spartan Engineers selected for NSF Graduate Research Fellowship Program 

The National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship Program (GRF) has selected three fellows from the Michigan State University College of Engineering.

Sevan Chanakian will continue her research in materials science.
Sevan Chanakian will continue her research in materials science.

The program is the country’s oldest graduate fellowship program that directly supports graduate students in science, technology, engineering and mathematics, or STEM, fields. 

NSF Graduate Research Fellows benefit from a three-year annual stipend of $34,000, along with a $12,000 cost of education allowance for tuition and fees (paid to the institution), opportunities for international research and professional development and the freedom to conduct their own research at any accredited U.S. institution of graduate education they choose.

Katy Luchini Colbry, assistant dean for Graduate Student Services in the College of Engineering, said the NSFGRFP allows its fellows to focus on their research and studies, while offering access to national resources to support advanced research and computation. 

“It’s one of the most prestigious awards in our country, recognizing outstanding achievement and supporting graduate students in reaching their full potential as scientists and engineers,” she said.

“MSU Engineering students and alumni have a long history of success in this competition. We are very proud of our students’ accomplishments.”

This year’s NSF GRF program recipients in the college are: 

Sevan Chanakian, a PhD student in materials science working with Alex Zevalkink, an assistant professor of chemical engineering and materials science.

Kara Dean, a PhD student in biosystems engineering working with Jade Mitchell, associate professor of biosystems engineering. Her research is focused on risk assessment and pathogen persistence.

Kara Dean is pursuing research in risk assessment and pathogen persistence.
Kara Dean is pursuing research in risk assessment and pathogen persistence.

Carly Gomez, a dually-enrolled bachelor’s and master’s degree student in biosystems engineering working with Bradley Marks, professor of biosystems engineering. She will be using engineering approaches to assess the risk of listeriosis posed to cancer patients from eating fresh fruits and vegetables. 

In addition, two MSU Engineering alumni have been recognized by the NSF:

• Matthew Smith, who received a bachelor’s degree in chemical engineering from MSU in Spring 2016, received an NSFGRF award. He is currently a student at the University of Michigan.

• James Wortman, who received a bachelor’s degree in chemical engineering from MSU in Spring 2018, received an honorable mention. He also currently attends the University of Michigan. 

Overall, MSU students won 10 NSFGRF awards this year. The College of Engineering has had 44 NSF Fellows since 2007 out of MSU’s 120 during that time period.

Carly Gomez is developing risk models related to food safety.
Carly Gomez is developing risk models related to food safety.