UTSA College of Engineering’s Marissa Wechsler, senior Biomedical Engineering student, has been selected to receive a 2015 National Science Foundation (NSF) Graduate Research Fellowship Program (GRFP) Fellowship. NSF awarded the GRF to 2,000 individuals from among 16,500 applicants in 2015.
“Being awarded this NSF fellowship is such an honor,” said Wechsler. “I cannot describe the feeling, but it is amazing to be recognized as one of the top young engineers and scientists in the country. Accepting this fellowship will definitely help me achieve my career goals.”
This prestigious award will provide complete financial support for three years of Wechsler’s graduate studies toward her doctoral degree in Biomedical Engineering. Awardees represent a diverse group of scientific disciplines and come from all states, as well as the District of Columbia, and commonwealths and territories of the United States. The 2015 class of Graduate Fellows comes from 456 baccalaureate institutions, 72 more than in 2010, when GRFP began awarding 2,000 fellowships each year.
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. The NSF Graduate Research Fellowship Program (GRFP) is a critical program in NSF’s overall strategy to develop the globally-engaged workforce necessary to ensure the nation’s leadership in advancing science and engineering research and innovation.
“Marissa is an excellent student and the BME program is very proud of her achievements,” said Anson Ong, chair of the Department of Biomedical Engineering. “Marissa’s award is also a strong testament of the quality of the BME program at UTSA.”
A high priority for NSF and GRFP is increasing the diversity of the science and engineering workforce, including geographic distribution and the participation of women, underrepresented minorities, persons with disabilities, and veterans. With its emphasis on support of individuals, GRFP offers fellowship awards directly to graduate students selected through a national competition. The GRFP provides three years of financial support within a five-year fellowship period ($34,000 annual stipend and $12,000 cost-of-education allowance to the graduate institution) for graduate study that leads to a research-based master’s or doctoral degree in science or engineering.
In addition, Fellows have opportunities for international research collaborations through the Graduate Research Opportunities Worldwide (GROW) initiative and professional career development with federal internships provided through the Graduate Research Internship Program (GRIP). GRFP also supports NSF’s Career-Life Balance (CLB) Initiative. CLB supplemental funding may be awarded to sustain the research of active NSF Graduate Research Fellows who have been granted an NSF-approved medical deferral for dependent-care (family leave) situations.
Former NSF Fellows include numerous individuals who have made transformative breakthroughs in science and engineering, become leaders in their chosen careers, and been honored as Nobel laureates. Applicants must be U.S. citizens, nationals, or permanent residents and are selected through the NSF peer review process.
A complete list of those offered this fellowship for 2015 is available on the NSF website. For general information about the program, go to nsfgrfp.org.