University of South Carolina

Student earns Department of Defense fellowship

 By Jennifer Bess,, (803) 777-0958

William “Cole” Franks, a 2013 graduate of the University of South Carolina, has been awarded the National Defense Science and Engineering Graduate Fellowship (NDSEG).

William Awarded through the Department of Defense, this program identifies individuals whose scientific and engineering credentials will support study culminating in doctoral degrees. The primary goal of the program is to provide the United States with individuals with doctoral degrees who will lead research projects in disciplines of greatest benefit to national defense. Worth approximately $150,000, the fellowship lasts for three years, and pays for full tuition and all mandatory fees, as well as offering a monthly stipend. Approximately 3,200 of these fellowships have been awarded since the program's inception 22 years ago.

Franks is a 2013 graduate of the South Carolina Honors College with a double major in mathematics and physics. He is the William B. Douglas Carolina Scholar, the most prestigious undergraduate scholarship for in-state students. Recently also named a National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship honorable mention, he is the recipient of the Barry M. Goldwater Scholarship, the Thomas Markham Mathematics Scholarship, the Carey K. Smith Scholarship and the Physics Rising Senior Award. Franks has participated in two summer Research Experiences for Undergraduates, one at the College of William and Mary, and one at the University of California, San Bernardino, and spent his junior spring in Budapest.

On campus, he has done research with Jerry Griggs (mathematics) in graph theory. Beyond the classroom, Franks is a member of the Pi Mu Epsilon Math Club, plays indoor soccer, is part of the Putnam Mathematics Competition Team, and passes on his love for mathematics through tutoring at Dreher High School. He intends to earn a doctorate in mathematics from Rutgers University, and pursue a career in mathematics and theoretical physics research.

Franks is the son of Mary Jo and William Franks of Greenville, and is a graduate of Southside High School.

NDSEG candidates were supported by the University’s Office of Fellowships and Scholar Programs, established in 1994 to assist students for national fellowship competitions. To learn more about national fellowships and competitions visit

Posted: 05/28/13 @ 11:00 AM | Updated: 05/30/13 @ 9:15 AM | Permalink



Media Relations

USC Times