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Faculty inspire students to pursue research, achieve NSF fellowships

A photo of Lynnora Grant and Kathrine Curtin

Lynnora Grant and Kathrine Curtin have won NSF graduate fellowships.

Two West Virginia University students will take their research projects to a new level and one NSF fellow will bring her research to the Statler College of Engineering and Mineral Resources thanks to prestigious graduate fellowships from the National Science Foundation.

And they credit their success to the faculty who mentored and supported them.

Amanda Davis of Salem, is currently a master’s student and a Ruby Fellow in the Davis College of Agriculture, Natural Resources, and Design studying animal food science under the advising of J.W. McFadden. She was awarded a GRFP for life sciences-biochemistry and will attend Cornell University to study wild and domestic ruminants (a group of mammals with a four-chambered stomach).

“I am honored to receive this fellowship,” Davis said. “This opportunity will allow me to take the next step in my professional career and become a more independent thinker and leader. I would like to thank my advisor Dr. Joseph McFadden for his mentorship and support during my time at WVU. Without him, this opportunity would not be possible.”

Lynnora Grant of Jefferson County, an Honors student and McNair Scholar, was awarded a GRFP for biomedical engineering and will attend Rice University in the fall to pursue research on materials science and nano-engineering. Grant, who graduated this past weekend with a bachelors in mechanical engineering, credits her success to the mentorship of professors in the Statler College of Engineering and Mineral Resources, particularly Kostas Sierros.

"I consider it a blessing from God that as an undergraduate student, I've had the opportunity to work under the guidance of Dr. Kostas Sierros and Maria Torres,” Grant said. “I have been molded into the burgeoning researcher that I am today because of their invested time and attention to my development."

While Grant and Davis will explore research at other institutions, GRFP fellow Kathrine Curtin, a recent graduate of St. Vincent College, will come to WVU to pursue her graduate studies under Nianqiang “Nick” Wu. Wu, a professor of mechanical and aerospace engineering in the Statler College, is a widely cited scholar and award-winning researcher in his field. He was recently named a Fellow of the Royal Society of Chemistry.

Tony Allen, a senior Honors student in the Department of Mathematics and recent recipient (along with Grant) of a 2017 NSF Summer Research Fellowship with the National Institute for Standards and Technology , received honorable mention from the GRFP.

The NSF Graduate Research Fellowship Program supports outstanding graduate students who are pursuing research-based masters and doctoral degrees in science, technology, engineering and mathematics disciplines or in STEM education.

Fellows receive a stipend of $34,000 annually for three years, along with a $12,000 cost-of-education allowance for tuition and fees, opportunities for international research and professional development and the freedom to conduct their research at any accredited U.S. institution of graduate education they choose. This year, the GRFP received more than 13,000 applications and made just 2,000 award offers.



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