Skip to Content

National Fellowships and Scholar Programs

  • Banner Image

USC Announces NSF Graduate Research Fellowship Winners

One current USC student and four USC alumni have been awarded 2016 National Science Foundation (NSF) Graduate Research Fellowships (GRF). Current student Elizabeth Crummy and alumni Tyler Hernandez, Stephen Parker Singleton, Mackenzie Sunday, and Daniel Utter have all been named NSF GRF Fellows. Three other current students, senior Charlotte Eckmann and graduate students Joel Bostic and Allison Rice, and three alumnae, Kali Esancy, Casey Lindberg and Elizabeth Yankovsky, 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 $138,000 each to outstanding college and university students for the year 2016. 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.


Crummy is a senior in the South Carolina Honors College, where she is a Biomedical Engineering major with a neuroscience minor. She is a McNair Scholar and member of both Phi Beta Kappa and Tau Beta Pi. Crummy has been very active in service projects with both Engineers Without Borders (serving at treasurer and president) and the Rotaract Club (serving as vice-president and president). She is currently a Magellan Ambassador for the Office of Undergraduate Research. Her undergraduate research, for which she earned both a Magellan Scholar grant and a SURF grant, took place under Dr. Melissa Moss, whose research focuses on Alzheimer's Disease. During the summer of 2015, she participated in the Conte Center Summer Undergraduate Research Experience (CONTE-SURE) in neuroscience at Vanderbilt, and presented that research at the Biomedical Engineering Society (BMES) 2015 National Conference in Tampa, FL. Crummy will pursue her Neuroscience Ph.D. at the University of Washington, Seattle.

Hernandez is a summa cum laude 2015 graduate of the South Carolina Honors College, where he earned a BS in Chemistry and a BS in Mathematics. A member of Phi Beta Kappa, he also received the Max G. Gergel Award for graduating with the highest GPA among chemistry and biochemistry majors. He was a Cooper Scholar, received SURF grants in 2013 and 2014, the Victor Laurie Junior Year Scholarship in 2014, the Jeong S. Yang Award for Excellence in Undergraduate Mathematics in 2014 and 2015, and the Polston Family Mathematics Scholarship in 2015. He completed independent research in Dr. Richard D. Adams' synthetic inorganic chemistry lab, and his honor college Senior Thesis focusing on coding macro scripts for use in oxidation studies in Dr. Donna A. Chen's surface science chemistry lab. Hernandez is currently pursuing his PhD in Chemistry at Stanford University, where he is rotating in chemical engineering and materials science labs while also working as a chemistry teaching assistant. He plans to work in the renewable energy industry and become a chemistry professor.

Singleton is a 2015 magna cum laude graduate of the University of South Carolina, where he earned a BS with leadership distinction in Chemistry. During his undergraduate career, he interned at MeadWestvaco Specialty Chemicals in Charleston for 1.5 years. He completed independent research for two years in Prof. Chuanbing Tang's polymer synthesis lab. He received the Hiram S. and Lawanda Allen Scholarship for Excellence in Chemistry in 2014. Parker is currently pursuing his PhD in Chemistry at Cornell University in the lab of Professor Brett P. Fors.

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. A 2013 Goldwater Scholar and a 2015 NSF GRFP Honorable Mention, Sunday is pursuing a PhD in Cognitive Neuroscience at Vanderbilt University.

Utter graduated summa cum laude in 2015 from the University of South Carolina with a B.S. in Marine Science and a minor in Chemistry. He was both a 2014 Goldwater Honorable Mention and a 2014 Udall Honorable Mention, as well as a Palmetto Fellows Scholar and the recipient of the 2015 Outstanding Marine Science Major Award. At USC he worked as a lab assistant for Dr. James Pinckney, and for the Belle W. Baruch Wet Laboratory, supervised by Teresa Donelan. A 2013 Magellan Scholar, his research of microbially-induced coral disease in a common table coral species led him to his current interest in complex microbial associations. He is presently studying microbial ecology and symbiosis in the Cavanaugh Laboratory at Harvard University, on his was to earning his PhD in Organismic and Evolutionary Biology.

Honorable Mentions

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.

Eckmann will graduate in May from the South Carolina Honors College with a major in Marine Science and a minor in Biology. A McNair Scholar, she is also a 2014 NOAA Hollings Scholar. She is currently doing research in Dr. Sean Norman's Molecular Microbial ecology lab, funded by a Magellan grant, where she studies antibiotic resistance in marine flesh-eating bacteria. She plans a career as a research professor. She is a Magellan Ambassador and the editor of MarSci, the marine science undergraduate journal. In the summer of 2013 she was an intern for the Benthic Ecology Program at Mote Marine Lab, and in the summer of 2015 she interned at the NOAA Lab in Charleston, SC studying the effects of oil spill dispersants on estuarine organisms. This fall she will begin a Ph.D. program in Ocean Sciences at the University of California Santa Cruz and will be working at the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute (MBARI).

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.

Lindberg is a 2014 graduate of the South Carolina Honors College, where she majored in Marine Science with a Concentration in Chemical Oceanography. She is currently pursuing her PhD at Duke University in their Integrated Toxicology and Environmental Health Program.

Rice is a 2014 graduate of Westminster College, where she majored in Chemistry. A GAAN Fellow at the University of South Carolina, she is currently pursuing her PhD in Chemistry. A recent volunteer judge at the 60th Annual Science and Engineering Fair at USC, she also plans to do a chemistry demonstration at a local elementary school. She has recently published "Redox-Active Corannulene Buckybowls in a Crystalline Hybrid Scaffold" in Angewandte Chemie International Edition, and plans a career as a professor.

Yankovsky is a 2015 graduate of the South Carolina Honors College, where she earned majored in Geophysics and Physics. She was a Lieber Scholar, Palmetto Fellows Scholar, Magellan Scholar, and recipient of the Society of Exploration Geophysicists Foundation Scholarship. As an undergraduate, she completed two NSF REUs (Research Experiences for Undergraduates), one with Dr. Robert Chant at Rutgers in 2013, and one with Dr. James Lerczak at Oregon State University in 2014. She completed research in the USC Geophysics Exploration Laboratory under Dr. Camelia Knapp, focusing on "Methane Hydrates and Cellular Convection in the Central Aleutian Basin." Yankovsky is currently a pursuing her PhD in Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences at Princeton University.

The USC NSF Committee, co-chaired by Michael Matthews (Chemical Engineering) and Erin Connelly (Biology), includes Shan Huang (Statistics), Robin Morris (Psychology), Mas Crawford (Physics and Astronomy), 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, Since 1994 when the Office of Fellowships and Scholar Programs was established, 91 University of South Carolina students and recent graduates have won NSF Graduate Research Fellowships.

Challenge the conventional. Create the exceptional. No Limits.