Eleven Notre Dame students, alumni awarded NSF Graduate Research Fellowships

Author: Erin Blasko

Graduate Research Fellowship Program

Eleven current or former University of Notre Dame students have been awarded National Science Foundation (NSF) Graduate Research Fellowships, with an additional nine singled out for honorable mention for the award.

Established in 1952, the Graduate Research Fellowship Program provides financial and other support to students in NSF-backed STEM (science, technology, engineering, math) disciplines to participate in research-based master’s and doctoral degree programs at accredited institutions in the U.S.

Applicants work closely with their advisers to create compelling personal statements and research plans.

Notre Dame students can also consult with experts from the Flatley Center for Undergraduate Scholarly Engagement (CUSE) or its counterpart, the Office of Grants and Fellowships, in the Graduate School.

“On behalf of CUSE, I’d like to congratulate the Notre Dame students and alumni recognized this year by the NSF GRFP. I’d also like to express my gratitude to their mentors and advisers, especially Emily Hunt, the assistant director of scholarly development in CUSE, who serves as our primary undergraduate and alumni fellowships adviser for the NSF GRFP,” said Jeffery Thibert, the Paul and Maureen Stefanick Director of CUSE. “I hope that the continued recognition of Notre Dame applicants by the NSF GRFP inspires any future students or alumni applying for a graduate degree in the social sciences, sciences or engineering fields to also consider applying for the NSF GRFP, as the funding provided through the program means that they won’t be limited to working with mentors who have funding available, and the network provided through the program can offer an early boost in their careers.”

Mary Ann McDowell, associate dean for professional development in the Graduate School, said, “On behalf of the Graduate School, I congratulate all the Notre Dame students and alumni who received recognition from the NSF. I thank the Graduate School Office of Grants and Fellowships, particularly assistant directors Kayla Hurd and Michael Skalski, for their ardent recruitment of students to apply for NSF GRFP awards and tireless work advising students on their applications. These efforts have been enormously successful, resulting in a nearly 25 percent success rate with 29 awards and 15 honorable mentions for Notre Dame graduate students over the last five years. A highlight this year was that two ND-PREP scholars were recognized with NSF GRFP awards. The ND-PREP program is an NIH-supported one-year post-baccalaureate experience for individuals from groups traditionally underrepresented in STEM fields. I am enormously grateful to the Grants and Fellowships team for assisting the ND-PREP scholars with their submissions and congratulate them on a 50 percent success rate. I look forward to seeing Notre Dame’s continued success in the future.”

The fellows are:


• Jack Kalicak (mechanical engineering)

• Michelle Kwok (particle physics)

Undergraduate alumni

• Kevin Angell (political science)

• Erin Neu (biomedical engineering)

• Fiona Neylon (mechanical engineering)

• Sarajane Smith (anthropology)

• James Zwierzynski (developmental biology)


• Dominique Gramm (bioengineering)

• Daniela Parra (cognitive psychology)

• Rebecca Warren (cognitive psychology)

• Khirsten Wilson (psychology, research and experimental)

The honorable mentions are:


• Evan Bursch (plasma physics)

• Sydney Coil (nuclear physics)

• Anousha Greiveldinger (astronomy and astrophysics)

• Quinn Mackay (chemical oceanography)

• Jonathan Tittle (mechanical engineering)

• Jessica Wysocki (nuclear engineering)

Undergraduate alumni

• Nicholas Crnkovich (nuclear engineering)

• Charlotte Probst (ecology)


• Menglin Jiang (environmental engineering)