CLEMSON — Seven Clemson University students have received Graduate Research Fellowships from the National Science Foundation, and five others received honorable mention awards in the national competition.

The National Science Foundation offers three-year graduate research fellowships to students in science, engineering, mathematics, technology and some social sciences. Each year, college seniors and early graduate students are invited to apply. Out of 17,000 applicants nationwide, 2,000 students won the prestigious awards.

Lisa Benson, associate professor in engineering and science education, and Julia Frugoli, Alumni Distinguished Professor of Genetics, again conducted a series of workshops in the fall to help the students prepare their application packages.

These Clemson students received graduate research fellowships:

  • Ryan Borem of Easley is a United States Army combat veteran and current Ph.D. student in bioengineering. His research focuses on the development of a tissue engineering scaffold to assist in the repair and regeneration of intervertebral discs in people suffering from back pain.
  • Michelle Greenough of Davis, California, is a Ph.D. student in materials science and engineering. In her research, she plans to develop a multilayer ceramic membrane to separate and then capture carbon dioxide gas. The aim of her research is to help reduce carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere.
  • Nora Harris of Rock Hill is a senior industrial engineering student. Her research will investigate how to encourage increased sustainability in the design process of buildings and infrastructure. She will begin a master’s program in civil engineering at Virginia Tech in the fall.
  • Allison Jansto of Harmony, Pennsylvania, is a graduate student in chemical engineering. Her research focuses on investigating the relationship between the nanostructure, mechanical properties and performance of functional materials. The goal is to better understand the transport and mechanical properties of materials used in fuel cells and batteries.
  • Catherine McGough of Charleston, West Virginia, is a graduate student in engineering and science education. Her research goal is to identify how undergraduate engineering students’ future goals and motivations relate to how they solve problems in class. These findings will allow instructors to improve and personalize problem-solving instruction.
  • Emily Thompson of Rochester, New York, is a senior physics major. Her research deals with particle physics.
  • Jennifer Wilson of Charlotte, North Carolina, is a senior majoring in plant and environmental science. Her research proposal for the Graduate Research Fellowship focused on understanding how plants detect and respond to attack by fungal pathogens. Next year, she will begin pursuing a Ph.D. in plant pathology at Cornell University. Her future research will focus on the transmission of plant viruses by aphids.

Five students received honorable mention:

  • Jason Anderson, computer science and engineering
  • Ryan DeFever, chemical engineering
  • Brennan Ferguson, environmental engineering
  • Alan Marionneaux, bioengineering, cartilage repair and regeneration
  • Jenna Pruett, life sciences, ecology

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