Nine students, alumni receive NSF graduate fellowship

Published: May 3, 2017 9:00:00 AM
Media Contact: Chris Anthony, chris.anthony@auburn.edu, 334.844.3447

Nine Auburn Engineering students and alumni have been honored with the National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship. The purpose of the fellowship program is to help ensure the vitality and diversity of the scientific and engineering workforce in the United States. In addition to these nine recipients, three other Auburn Engineering students received honorable mentions.

Since 2011, 28 Auburn Engineering students and alumni have received the fellowship.

Each fellowship consists of three years of support accessible over a five-year period. For each year, the NSF provides a stipend of $34,000 to the fellow, and a cost-of-education allowance of $12,000 to the degree-granting institution.

2017 NSF Graduate Research Fellows

Fellowship recipients for 2017 are:

Ferdous Finklea of Auburn is a graduate student in chemical engineering as well as a 2013 Auburn graduate and Honors College alumna. The title of her research is "Manufacturing of hiPSC-Derived Cardiomyocytes for Drug Testing and Regenerative Medicine" and her research advisor is Elizabeth Lipke in the Department of Chemical Engineering.

Jennifer Kaczmarek of Tampa, Florida, is an Honors College senior in chemical engineering in the Samuel Ginn College of Engineering. Her research is titled "Direct Encapsulation and Differentiation of Human Induced Pluripotent Stem Cells in Peptide Modified Poly(ethylene) Glycol" and Lipke is also her research mentor.

Chandler Moore of Shoal Creek is an Honors College senior in aerospace engineering. His research project is titled "A Machine Learning Approach for Simulating Particle Laden Flow" and his Auburn mentor is Joseph Majdalani in the Department of Aerospace Engineering.

Josh Passantino of Morris is an Honors College senior with a triple major in chemical engineering, biosystems engineering and Spanish. His project is titled "Growing ‘Green’ Energy: Using Photosynthetic Microbes to Fabricate Bio-Photovoltaic Cells" and his research advisor is Virginia Davis in the Department of Chemical Engineering.

Rebecca Nylen of Auburn is a 2016 civil engineering graduate and Honors College alumna. Her research is titled "Ultra-High Performance Geopolymer: Design, Assessment, Modeling." While at Auburn, her research mentor was Robert Barnes in the Department of Civil Engineering.

Elizabeth Pearce of Knoxville, Tennessee, is a 2015 chemical engineering graduate and Honors College alumna. Her project is titled "Investigating Tumor-Infiltrating T Cell Specificity to Inform Cancer Immunotherapies." While at Auburn, her research mentor was Mark Byrne in the Department of Chemical Engineering.

Katie Ford of Hokes Bluff is a 2015 chemical engineering graduate. The title of her research is "Torque generation in swarming bacteria." While at Auburn, her research advisor was Robert Chambers in the Department of Chemical Engineering.

Sanny Omar of Crestwood, Kentucky, is a 2015 aerospace engineering graduate and Honors College alumnus. His research is titled "Facilitating Affordable Satellite Internet Through an Aerodynamically based Attitude, Orbit, and Re-Entry Control System for Small Satellites." While at Auburn, his research advisor was Jean Marie Wersinger in the Department of Physics.

Audrey Rose Gutierrez of Commerce, Georgia, is a 2015 electrical engineering graduate and Honors College alumna. Her research is titled "Light-field Detection using Graphene Photodetector Arrays." While at Auburn, her research mentor was Mark Adams in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering.

Three Auburn Engineering students and alumni received an honorable mention:

  • Aerospace engineering graduate student Cassandra Jones
  • Chemical engineering graduate student Chelsea Harris
  • Industrial and systems engineering and Honors alumna Amanda Chu

The NSF Graduate Research Fellowship program recognizes and supports outstanding graduate students in NSF-supported STEM — science, technology, engineering and mathematics — disciplines who are pursuing research-based master’s and doctoral degrees at accredited U.S. institutions. 

—Written by Wade Berry and Chris Anthony