Auburn Engineering students recognized as graduate research fellows by National Science Foundation

Published: Apr 24, 2024 3:30 PM

By Joe McAdory

Six Auburn Engineering students were named National Science Foundation (NSF) Graduate Research Fellows for 2024.

According to the NSF, the Graduate Research Fellowship Program is “designed to help ensure the quality, vitality, and diversity of the nation’s scientific and engineering workforce. A goal of the program is to broaden participation of the full spectrum of diverse talents in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM).” The five-year fellowship, awarded to students who are either enrolled — or intend to enroll — in research-based graduate programs or intend to enroll provides three years of financial support inclusive of an annual stipend of $37,000.

Auburn Engineering students recognized were:

Dylan Bowen: a second-year doctoral student and graduate research assistant in chemical engineering, Bowen has been researching cancer cell behavior under the mentorship of Assistant Professor Panagiotis Mistriotis. With the fellowship, Bowen plans to study how physical signals within the body, such as pressure and fluid flow, affect cell migration behavior. Bowen earned a bachelor’s degree in bioprocess engineering from Auburn in 2022, where he researched drug discovery and development and was SGA Engineering Student of the Year.

Marisa Kelley: a senior in materials engineering, the NASA Pathways intern is active in the Polymer Mechanics Research Laboratory under the direction of Russell Mailen, assistant professor in aerospace engineering, where she adapts the electrospinning manufacturing process to create synthetic threads of conductive polymers for applications in wearable devices.

Maggie Nelson: a senior in aerospace engineering, Nelson’s research focuses on the production and degradation of recycled shape memory polymers with aerospace applications, which include 3D printing filament and flat plates of material that maintain self-folding capabilities. Nelson, an Honors College student who recently earned the Churchill Scholarship to continue research in the United Kingdom, also received a Barry M. Goldwater Scholarship in 2023. She is advised by Mailen, Bryan Beckingham, associate professor in chemical engineering and director of the Center for Polymers and Advanced Composites, and Soledad Peresin, associate professor in biomaterials chemistry and nanotechnology.

Ryan Pollard: a graduate student in mechanical engineering under the mentorship of Associate Professor Michael Zabala, Pollard is also a research assistant within the Auburn University Biomechanical Engineering Laboratory, where he focuses on discerning motion intention from electroencephalogram and electromyography data for lower limb exoskeleton control.

Katie Wolfe: an undergraduate research assistant and senior double majoring in electrical engineering and theatrical design, Wolfe has been working closely with Electronic Theatre Controls to study the applications of ultra-violet light in industrial and entertainment settings. She is advised by Daniel Geiger, lecturer in electrical and computer engineering, Meredith Reid, assistant professor in electrical and computer engineering, and Mark Schall, associate professor in industrial and systems engineering.

Robin Weaver (honorable mention): a senior in aerospace engineering, Weaver’s work expanded upon previous research on multi-stable structures by examining the viscoelastic bias imparted within structures due to print states and again. Treasurer for the 2023 Class of Auburn University’s Society of Women Engineers and Cupola Engineering ambassador, Weaver is advised by Russell Mailen in the Polymer Mechanics Research Laboratory.

“We’re extremely proud of our students for their dedication to research, science and technology,” said Maria Auad, associate dean for graduate studies and faculty development. “Research solidifies a student’s academic foundation and gives them the opportunity to take their education to incredible heights where they can positively impact society. I know they will continue to represent Auburn University on an exemplary level.”

Media Contact: Joe McAdory,, 334.844.3447

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