Three ECE students recognized with NSF Graduate Research Fellowships

4/5/2017 The Graduate College at the University of Illinois

Ryan Grady, Richard Liu (pictured), and Zikang Tong were among the twenty-two Illinois students who received fellowships. Three additional ECE ILLINOIS students were given honorable mentions.

Written by The Graduate College at the University of Illinois

Twenty-two students currently enrolled at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have been offered Graduate Research Fellowships from the National Science Foundation. Seventeen of those are graduate students; five are undergraduates. An additional 40 students were accorded Honorable Mentions. Among the award recipients, three are ECE ILLINOIS students: Ryan Grady, Richard Dicky Liu, and Zikang Tong. Three other ECE ILLINOIS students received honorable mentions: Edward Joe Chou, Mathew Scott Halm, and Joshua Andrew Perozek.

Created in 1952, the NSF Graduate Research Fellowship Program (GRFP) is one of the nation’s oldest and most prestigious of fellowship programs. Supporting students pursuing research-oriented master’s and PhD degrees in science, technology, social science, engineering, and mathematics fields, the program aims to strengthen the nation’s scientific workforce.

As with all of NSF’s grant and fellowship programs, applications are evaluated according to two criteria: intellectual merit and broader impacts. Applicants must demonstrate the potential for becoming not only exemplary researchers, but also exemplary publicly engaged researchers who will use their knowledge and skills to benefit society.

Awardees receive three years of support for their graduate education and have access to two professional development programs: the Graduate Research Opportunities Worldwide (GROW) program, which supports students conducting research in overseas labs, and the Graduate Research Internship (GRIP) program, which provides on-site experience in federal agencies. Fellows also enjoy access to supercomputing resources through XSEDE, the Extreme Science, and Engineering Discovery Environment.

Wojtek Chodzko-Zajko, dean of the Graduate College, commends the awardees, “What a remarkable honor our students have earned. I applaud their achievement, and I applaud the National Science Foundation for its continuing investment in this tremendously valuable program. The outstanding graduate students of today will become the science leaders of tomorrow, but their training costs money, and NSF is doing a great service by helping students and universities meet those costs.”

Ken Vickery, Director of External Fellowships in the Graduate College, adds, “These students have certainly distinguished themselves, and I salute all of them for the years of hard work that factored into their success. For graduate level applicants, this year’s results are particularly important given that NSF revised its rules and reduced the number of graduate students who could apply. It’s, therefore, heartening to see that so many of our students have achieved this high honor.”

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This story was published April 5, 2017.