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Record number of WVU students awarded NSF research fellowships

A photo of NSF NIST scholarship winners.

Katrina Rupert, Mikal Dufor, Nicholas Strogen, Will Howard and Samantha Isaac have earned NIST Research Fellowships.

A record number of students – five – from West Virginia University have been selected to participate in National Science Foundation-funded summer research fellowships with the National Institute of Standards and Technology. Home to three Nobel Prize winners, NIST is one of the leading research organizations in the world. Two – Will Howard and Nicholas Strogen – are engineering majors.


The students will spend 11 weeks contributing to ongoing research in NIST facilities in either Boulder, Colorado, or Gaithersburg, Maryland.

“This is exciting news to have five students accepted to this program, especially the competitive Boulder program,” Michelle Richards-Babb, director of the Office of Undergraduate Research, said. “All five have been involved in faculty-mentored undergraduate research at WVU, which seems to be the key to this year’s success.”

Howard of Morgantown will all be researching at NIST facilities in Colorado. A junior in the Honors College, he is majoring in electrical engineering with the Statler College of Engineering and Mineral Resources with minors in mathematics and physics. He will help with research on adapting the current LTE standard for emergency use - making sure that when we most need them, our cellular communications systems work.

“Receiving this research opportunity means I will get the chance to apply what I’ve learned to make people’s lives better,” Howard said. He plans to continue work in electrical engineering in the future, pursuing a graduate degree.

A Bridgeport native, Strogen is a junior mechanical engineering major, planning on pursuing a PhD in materials science. He will be in Maryland researching impact testing for football players, investigating topics such as concussion protocol. A big football fan and former football player, Strogen hopes his research can have an impact on player safety.

“It’s completely different than the research I’m doing here on 3D printing and nanomaterials. Being undecided on what type of research I want to pursue in graduate school, I think it will help to be involved in something new,” Strogen said.

NIST is a federal agency that develops technology, metrics and standards that are the basis for innovation and industrial competitiveness.

Students interested in participating must apply for the NIST Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowship through WVU’s Office of Undergraduate Research and be nominated as part of a larger application packet submitted by WVU. These fellowships are one of many research opportunities available to undergraduate students through this office.



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