Penn State host to 21 new NSF graduate researchers

October 17, 2011

University Park, Pa. -- Penn State is host to 21 new National Science Foundation (NSF) Graduate Research Fellowship Program (GRFP) recipients in 2011-12. These students join 28 prior recipients continuing in the University's graduate degree programs in the Eberly College of Science and the Colleges of Agricultural Sciences, Earth and Mineral Sciences, Engineering, Health and Human Development, Information Sciences and Technology, and the Liberal Arts, as well as the Intercollege Graduate Degree Programs. The NSF program supports outstanding graduate students in science, technology, engineering, STEM education and learning research, and mathematics disciplines who are pursuing research-based master's and doctoral degrees.

The following students make up the 2011 class of new fellows at the University: Amber Black, engineering science and mechanics; Nyesha Black, sociology; Joanna Bridge, astronomy; Curtis Cain, information sciences and technology; Lina Castano-Duque, plant biology; Jenna Christian, geography; Emily Coyle, psychology; Jason Curtis, astronomy; Marta Hatzell, mechanical engineering; Jarred Heigel, mechanical engineering; Anjel Helms, ecology; Holly Holt, entomology; Jeffrey Kerby, ecology; Brian Kiraly, engineering science and mechanics; Pedro Neto, industrial engineering; Mark Shadden, political science; Ryan Swanson, geosciences; Allison Truhlar, civil engineering; Rachel Urban, civil engineering; John Wheatley, anthropology; Matthew Wilson, political science.

According to the National Science Foundation's website, the Graduate Research Fellowship Program is "the oldest graduate fellowship program of its kind with a history of selecting recipients who achieve high levels of success in their future academic and professional careers,” and that “fellows benefit from a three-year annual stipend of $30,000 along with a $10,500 cost of education allowance for tuition and fees, 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.”

The NSF GRFP annual program solicitation was released in early September and is available online at Applications are accepted via Fastlane (, the NSF's official online information and business transaction center. Application deadlines begin in mid-November and vary depending on the field of study. NSF-supported fields of study include: chemistry, computer and information science and engineering, engineering, geosciences, life sciences, materials research, mathematical sciences, physics and astronomy, psychology, social sciences, and STEM education and learning research.

For additional information on the NSF GRFP, contact Barbara Struble, director of the Graduate School's Office of Graduate Fellowships and Awards Administration, at or 814-865-8122.

Last Updated October 18, 2011