After a long five-month wait since they submitted their applications, 15 current College of Engineering students learned in late March that they were recipients of the NSF Graduate Research Fellowship Program (GRFP) class of 2020. This is the largest group of awardees from the College of Engineering in several years. In addition, seven students received honorable mentions. Across the University, a total of 20 students received the Fellowship, and 14 received honorable mentions.
Of these students, three are from the School of Industrial Engineering:
NSF Graduate Research Fellow, Xiaotian Wang
Xiaotian Wang has been working with Professor Honnappa for over a year, including a full-time project made possible by the Purdue University Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowship (SURF), last year.
Their most recent project has focused on how to optimally allocate a fixed number of servers over a two-queue system. Xiaotian explains, "[This could be used] to allocate limited Covid-19 testing resources to different geographical locations such that the probability of a testing request being denied due to lack of resources is minimized." Two-queue systems also provide useful information about multi-queue systems, which are very common in problem solving.
"I am very honored to be selected to receive the NSF Graduate Research Fellowship this year," he continues, "[The fellowship] provides maximum freedom for my graduate research topic. It also makes me qualified for some other opportunities only available for GRF recipients."
"Prof. Honnappa spent a long time discussing with me how I should present my capabilities and potential in my application essay and research proposal. I couldn't have done it without his help. I also want to express my gratitude towards Professors Hunter and Landry for their strong support. Their very strong courses in Probability, Statistics, and Simulation provided me a very solid foundation in the field of Operations Research and Applied Probability."
Xiaotian will be joining the Northwestern University IEMS department as a Ph.D. student this fall.
IE Student and December Graduate Recognized with Honorable Mention by NSF
Nathan Geldner and Casey Stowers both earned honorable mention.
Stowers, graduated with a BSIE in the fall of 2019 and has been working as a research staff member in Mechanical Engineering at Purdue. She will be attending UT Austin for graduate school in the fall.
Geldner is a MS student,working with Professor David Johnson. He has been studying decision methods for environmental, agricultural and resource management and policy.
The National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship Program
The NSF, established in 1952, is the oldest STEM fellowship program supporting research-based graduate students. In a typical year, thousands of very well qualified students—seniors and first- and second-year graduate students—apply for approximately 2,000 Fellowships. Nearly the same number of honorable mentions are given. The College of Engineering’s newly chosen Fellows join an illustrious group of NSF GRFP alumni, including Google founder, Sergey Brin, and many Nobel Prize winners, including former U.S Secretary of Energy, Steven Chu.
The NSF GRFP provides a three-year stipend of $34,000 per year and a tuition payment of $12,000 per year to the graduate institution the recipient attends. In addition, they have access to “opportunities for international research and professional development,” according to the NSF GRFP website.
Purdue’s College of Engineering 2020 recipients:
AAE — Ryan Strelau and Paige Whittington
ABE — Kevin Fitzgerald
BME — Jennifer Anderson and Katherine Leyba
ChE — Takashi Yokokura
ECE — Timothy Terlep
EEE — Rachel Gehr
IE — Xiaotian Wang
ME — Brian Acosta, Matthew Blaisdell, Debraliz Isaac-Aragones, and Vanessa Kwarteng
MSE — Alejandro Figueroa and Joseph Yount
The honorable mentions:
AAE — Hannah Mackin Schenck
BME — Sydney Sofronici
CE — Joshua Harmon
IE — Nathan Geldner and Casey Stowers
ME — Amanda Braun
MSE — Jessica Lavorata
Since the NSF GRFP applications are due in late October, early every fall the College of Engineering offers several overview workshops on the NSF GRFP application process for seniors and graduate students, as well as a separate one for sophomores and juniors who are thinking ahead to graduate school. These workshops have been given by professors Dulcy Abraham, CE, Audeen Fentiman, ENE, and Steve Landry, IE; all three are very familiar with the process. In addition, Joanne Lax, Graduate Technical Communications and Professional Development Specialist in the College of Engineering provides a series of workshops to help the students write the two detailed statements required in the application. The Graduate School also holds NSF GRFP workshops for applicants throughout Purdue and provides an incentive grant of $250 for graduate students who apply for prestigious external grants such as the NSF GRFP.