Two current USC students and six USC alumni have been awarded 2015 National Science Foundation (NSF) Graduate Research Fellowships (GRF). Current students Connor Bain and Anna Kirkpatrick, as well as alumni Hani Gomez, Drew DeLorenzo, Kathryn Kingsmore, Kimberly McCormack, Hilde Oliver, and Katrina Phillips have all been named NSF GRF Fellows. Two other current students, Joel Bostic and Andrew Patterson, and four alumnae, Anna Battiata, Jacqueline Cantwell, Kali Esancy, and Mackenzie Sunday, were selected for Honorable Mentions in this prestigious graduate fellowship competition.
The National Science Foundation has awarded 2,000 three-year Graduate Research Fellowships of approximately $132,000 each to outstanding college and university students for the year 2015. Since 1952, NSF has provided fellowships to individuals selected early in their graduate careers based on their demonstrated potential for significant achievements in science and engineering.
Bain is a senior, double majoring in Computer Science and Mathematics with a minor in Music, and a member of the South Carolina Honors College. He is the Solomon Blatt Carolina Scholar. Bain has participated in interdisciplinary and diverse research experiences since high school, including an REU at Harvard working in Testing and Optimizing Differential Privacy, an REU at Duke in the Systems and Networking Research Group (SyNRG), and with Dr. Nelakuditi (USC Computer Science) in mobile computing. Bain is a co-founder of Carolina Science Outreach, director of the Green Office Certification Program, and a recipient of the Algernon Sydney Sullivan Award, a 2014 Barry M. Goldwater Scholar, a 2013 Magellan Scholar, 2012-13 Leadership Scholar, and a 2013 Udall Honorable Mention. He plans to earn a PhD in Computer Science and Learning Science and teach at the university level.
Gomez graduated in December 2014 from the University of South Carolina where she majored in Electrical Engineering. She was named a 2014 Magellan Scholar and is a recipient of the South Carolina Alliance for Minority Participation (SC-AMP) award and used both to help fund her research on Graphene under Dr. MVS Chandrashekhar. During her time at the University of South Carolina, Gomez was named President of Students Associated for Latin America and Vice Chair of the Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers Chapter. She will now pursue a PhD in Electrical Engineering at the University of California, Berkeley.
Kirkpatrick will graduate from the South Carolina Honors College with a degree in Mathematics this May. She is the recipient of the Palmetto Fellows and Lieber Scholarships as well the Wyman L. Williams Mathematics Scholarship, James Bruce Coleman Mathematics Scholarship, and Victor W. Laurie Undergraduate Research Scholarship. As a freshman, Kirkpatrick was named a Magellan Scholar and National Merit Finalist. In addition to an REU at Williams College, Kirkpatrick has worked closely with Dr. Joshua Cooper in the Mathematics department and participated in a PhotoVoice project through the Office of Student Disability Services where students with disabilities used photography to document their experiences at the University of South Carolina. You may learn more about that project here. Kirkpatrick plans to teach math at the university level after finishing graduate school.
DeLorenzo graduated in 2014 from the South Carolina Honors College with dual degrees in Marine Science and Biochemistry & Molecular Biology and a minor in Business Administration. A member of Phi Beta Kappa, his past accolades include a 2012 Hollings Scholarship, 2013 Goldwater Scholarship, 2014 MASNA Undergraduate Scholar award, 2013 USC Outstanding Marine Science Rising Senior, 2014 Fulbright finalist, and 2014 Honorable Mention for the NSF GRFP. His undergraduate research in Dr. Jerry Hilbish's lab was supported by Magellan and Voyager grants. He now attends Washington University in St. Louis and is pursuing a PhD in Energy, Environmental and Chemical Engineering focusing on biofuels.
Kingsmore graduated summa cum laude from the South Carolina Honors College with a major in Biomedical Engineering and a minor in Spanish in 2014. A member of Phi Beta Kappa, Kingsmore was a McNair Scholar and recipient of the Outstanding Senior in Biomedical Engineering, USC Outstanding Senior Award, and was named a finalist for USC Woman of the Year. She conducted research at the Naval Research Unit and assisted Dr. Sondra Berger on campus in her lab supported by a Magellan Grant. While at USC, Kingsmore was a member of Phi Beta Kappa, Phi Mu, and served as President of Tau Beta Pi. She is currently working towards her PhD in Biomedical Engineering at the University of Virginia, and plans a career either in industry or teaching in academia.
McCormack is a 2013 graduate of the South Carolina Honors College where she majored in Geophysics. As an undergraduate, McCormack received the Distinguished Academic Achievement Award, College of Arts and Sciences Rising Senior Award in Earth Sciences, Society of Exploration Geophysicists P.C. Havens scholarship, Stephen Taber scholarship in geophysics, and the Cooper Scholar Award. McCormack was also a member of Phi Beta Kappa. As a member of the equestrian team for the duration of her undergraduate career, McCormack was named AgSouth Female Athlete of the Year twice. She also conducted research with Dr. James Knapp. McCormack is currently working on her PhD in Geoscience at the University of Texas at Austin where she was also awarded the Jackson School of Geosciences graduate student fellowship.
Oliver graduated magna cum laude and Phi Beta Kappa with honors and leadership distinction is both research and professional and civic engagement from the South Carolina Honors College with a major in Mathematics in 2014. She was the recipient of the Cooper Scholars Award and Jeong S. Yang award for Excellence in Undergraduate Mathematics. In receiving a Science Undergraduate Research Fellowship and being named a Magellan Scholar, Oliver was able to conduct research in the USC department of Biological Sciences and abroad in France. In addition, Oliver used at Passport travel grant to participate in a service learning experience teaching English in Senegal and spent two consecutive summers as a summer research student at the Oak Ridge National Laboratory. Oliver is now pursuing her PhD at the University of Georgia where she is also the recipient of the Presidential Graduate Fellowship. She intends to continue research in biological oceanography at high latitudes after graduation.
Phillips is a 2007 graduate of the South Carolina Honors College where she majored in Marine Science. She was the recipient of a Magellan Award, Palmetto Fellows Scholarship, and the Tracy Heincelman Memorial Scholarship. While at USC, Phillips was the president and outreach coordinator for Students Engaged in Aquatic Science (SEAS), associate editor for MarSci, and a lab assistant in both the Marine Sediments Research Lab with Dr. Thunell and the Marine Ecology Lab with Dr. Stancyk. After USC, Phillips received her Master's Degree in Marine Affairs and Policy from the University of Miami, held a Sea Grant Knauss Marine Policy Fellowship in Washington, D.C., and worked as an Assistant Scientist for the Sea Education Association. Phillips is now pursuing her PhD at the University of Central Florida and works in the Marine Turtle Research Group with Dr. Kate Mansfield.
Battiata is a 2011 graduate from the University of South Carolina. She is now studying Evolutionary Biology at the University of Georgia.
Bostic is a 2014 graduate of Western Carolina University where he majored in Science Education. He is now pursuing his Master's Degree in Marine Science at the University of South Carolina.
Cantwell is a 2012 graduate of the South Carolina Honors College, where she majored in Chemistry and minored in French. A McNair Scholar, she was also the recipient of the Lieber Scholarship and the National Merit Scholarship, as well as a member of Phi Beta Kappa, Golden Key, NSCS, Sigma Alpha Lamda, and Alpha Lamda Delta. In 2012, she received a Fulbright to pursue research in France, and is now a PhD student in Chemistry at Northwestern University, where she conducts research in inorganic solid state chemistry and plans to be a university professor and research scientist.
Esancy is a 2013 graduate of the South Carolina Honors College with a double major in Biology and French. She was a McNair Scholar, as well as the recipient of the Clariant Corporation Scholarship, the Robert Byrd Memorial Scholarship, and a Carolina Leadership Initiative Grant. She was also awarded a Magellan grant for her research work in the biology lab of Dr. Rekha Patel and a Fulbright Academic Study/Research Grant in 2013. Esancy spent her Fulbright year doing biological research at the University of Angers, France. While at USC, Esancy served as the president of the USC chapter of Amnesty International, as well as their student activist coordinator for South Carolina. She also served as a co-director for Carolina Science Outreach. She is currently pursuing her PhD in Neuroscience at the University of Washington.
Patterson is a senior, majoring in Electrical Engineering, and a member of the South Carolina Honors College. He holds the Terminix Carolina Scholarship.
Sunday is a 2014 graduate from the South Carolina Honors College, where she earned a Baccalaureus Artium et Scientiae (BARSC) degree with a focus on neuroscience. She was the recipient of the R.C. McEntire and Company, Inc. Carolina Scholarship, as well as the Lieber and Palmetto scholarships, and an Explorer's grant from SCHC. While at USC, Sunday worked in Dr. John Henderson's (Psychology) research lab on visual cognition, in part supported by her Explorer's grant from SCHC. She participated in Carolina Science Outreach, served as an ambassador for the Honors College, and has studied abroad in Greece, India, and New Zealand. Sunday is pursuing a PhD in Cognitive Neuroscience at Vanderbilt University.
The USC NSF Committee, chaired by Michael Matthews (Chemical Engineering), and comprised of Erin Connelly (Biology), Shan Huang (Statistics), Melayne McInnes (Economics), Robin Morris (Psychology), Adam Hartstone-Rose (School of Medicine), Ken Shimizu (Chemistry), and Richard Showman (Biological Sciences), is to be commended for their work with these students.
The Office of Fellowships and Scholar Programs identifies and recruits student to apply for nationally competitive fellowships and scholarships, www.sc.edu/ofsp. Since 1994 when the Office of Fellowships and Scholar Programs was established, 86 University of South Carolina students and recent graduates have won NSF Graduate Research Fellowships.