Nora Kenney | April 19, 2018
The National Science Foundation (NSF) recently announced the winners of its 2018 Graduate Research Fellowship Program (GRFP), with 12 University of Notre Dame students and alumni winning the highly coveted award from a pool of national competitors. Another 11 received honorable mention. Overall, 23 current or former Notre Dame students earned recognition from the NSF.
Inaugurated in 1952, the NSF GRFP funds graduate studies for scientists and engineers who represent high potential in their fields, focusing on the students’ development in the fields of science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM). Specifically, the fellowship provides three years of financial support in the form of $34,000 annual stipends and $12,000 cost-of-education allowances to the fellows’ graduate institutions. It also promotes professional development and provides opportunities for international research.
The application process for the NSF GRFP is extensive. Applicants work in conjunction with their advisers to create compelling personal statements and research plans. In addition, applicants from Notre Dame have the added opportunity to receive strategic expert advice. Notre Dame’s undergraduate students and alumni work with the Flatley Center for Undergraduate Scholarly Engagement (CUSE), and its graduate students work with the fellowship advising team at the Graduate School’s Office of Grants and Fellowships, one of the only full-time fellowship advising offices in the country dedicated exclusively to graduate students. In correspondence to efforts from CUSE and the Office of Grants and Fellowships, the number of awards won by Notre Dame students in recent years has been significant.
“A STEM graduate student at Notre Dame wanting to win a fellowship from the NSF is truly in the right place, as the programming we offer toward application preparation for this award, combined with the students’ work ethics, has proven quite effective,” said Samantha Lee, program director of the Office of Grants and Fellowships. “Students worked tirelessly with faculty and my office for months in advance of the NSF deadline, and it really shows in the quality of their applications.”