Three students and alumni of the University of Kansas with ties to Kansas City, Kan., have won National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowships for 2013-2014.
They are among 13 KU students and alumni NSF fellowship winners announced today.
The three from Kansas City, Kan.:
• Anthony Matthias Johnson, from Kansas City, Kan: McNair Scholar, Research Experience Certification. He completed a bachelor’s degree from KU in sociology. He is a Sumner Academy graduate.
• Matthew Aaron Williams, of Kansas City, Kan.: University Honors, Research Experience Certification. He completed a bachelor’s degree from KU in aerospace engineering. He is a graduate of Tonganoxie High School, and one of his parents lives in Kansas City, Kan.
• Heather Marie Wurtz, of Kansas City, Kan.: University Honors, Research Experience Certification. She completed a bachelor’s degree from KU in anthropology. A graduate of Hayden High School, Topeka, she has been a student at KU School of Nursing in Kansas City, Kan.
These current and former Jayhawks will build upon their experiences doing undergraduate research at KU to pursue graduate degrees at prestigious universities across the country.
Regarded as one of the premier awards in the sciences, the fellowships provide a $30,000 stipend each year for three years of graduate study plus an allowance of $10,500 to the institution for educational expenses. Each year, the Fellowship program receives more than 13,000 applications and awards approximately 2,000 fellowships. An additional 1,800 students receive honorable mentions.
“When the committee reviews applications, one of the key factors is a high-quality undergraduate research experience,” said Jennifer Gleason, associate professor of ecology and evolutionary biology. She said the award is a great honor that “frees the student to concentrate on his or her research and participate in outreach to the public.” Gleason, as an NSF-designated resource person, has served on the fellowship review panel and teaches a class for students interested in applying for the fellowship.
“All of the KU students who received the fellowship this year had a strong undergraduate research experience,” said John Augusto, director of the Center for Undergraduate Research. “KU has a strong tradition of attracting students who complete undergraduate research, in large part because many faculty mentors are active in getting students involved with research, and there are a number of campus programs that support and guide students through a research experience.”
NSF fellowships are intended for individuals in the early stages of graduate study. Fellows must be working on research-based master’s or doctoral degrees in the mathematical, physical, biological, behavioral or social sciences; engineering; the history of science; the philosophy of science; or research-based doctoral degrees in science education. For this highly competitive award, applicants must submit research proposals, which are reviewed by expert scientists in their field. NSF fellowship recipients, as well as honorable mentions, represent the best among young scientists in the United States.