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Drexel's 2015 NSF Graduate Research Fellowships

April 13, 2015

Six Drexel students and alumni are recipients of the prestigious NSF Graduate Research Fellowships and nine are Honorable Mentions.

We are so proud of these students, who have demonstrated exemplary commitment to their research. We also congratulate their faculty mentors who have given them guidance and support along the way. 

Drexel's 2015 NSF Graduate Research Fellows are:  

Michael Ghidiu
Materials Science & Engineering, PhD candidate
Michael is a 2nd year PhD candidate in Materials Science and Engineering, working with Drs. Michel Barsoum and Yury Gogotsi on MXenes, an exciting family of novel two-dimensional materials with potential applications from drug delivery to next-generation supercapacitors.


Scott Lerner
Electrical & Computer Engineering, PhD candidate
Scott’s research interests include low-power VLSI circuits, modeling of parametric variation, and timing models specifically for clock distribution networks. Scott works under Drexel's Dr. Baris Taskin in the VLSI lab

Andrew McDonald

Computer Science, PhD candidate


Allison Byrne
Environmental Science, ’13, Honors
Graduate institution: UC Berkeley. Received GRFP Honorable Mention, 2014.

Natalie Gogotsi
Materials Science & Engineering (BS, Chemical Engineering ’14)
Graduate institution: UPenn 

Nick Kruczek
Physics, BS, ’14, Honors
Graduate institution: University of Colorado, Boulder

2015 NSF GRFP Honorable Mentions:

Bryan Byles
Materials Science & Engineering, PhD candidate
Bryan, who received the GRFP Honorable Mention in 2014, is focusing on energy storage materials. He’s working on tunnel-structured manganese oxides for beyond-lithium energy storage systems, such as Na-ion and Mg-ion batteries. His Drexel advisor is Dr. Ekaterina Pomerantseva.

Sam Ciocys
Physics, BS, ‘15, Honors
Sam is a senior dual major in physics and mathematics. His faculty mentor is Dr. Goran Karapetrov in Physics. Sam spent two co-ops in 2013 and 2014 at Argonne National Laboratory working for the University of Chicago’s South Pole Telescope team (SPT). During his first interval at Argonne, he researched superconducting-ferromagnetic thin film hetero-structures for application in transition edge sensors. This experience was transferred to his second appointment at Argonne where he was part of the South Pole Telescope detector fabrication team building detectors to observe the Cosmic Microwave Background.

Sarah Gleeson
Materials Science & Engineering, PhD candidate
Sarah is a first year PhD student in Materials Science and Engineering. Sarah received an undergraduate degree from Case Western Reserve University in Biomedical Engineering, and served as an AmeriCorps volunteer for a year before coming to Drexel for graduate school. Her advisor is Dr. Chris Li, and she is currently working on a project designing composite mineralized polymer materials to mimic the structure of bone.


Stephanie Goldstein
Psychology, PhD, ‘18
Stephanie received her BS from Drexel University in 2013. Her research involves the dissemination of evidence-based treatments. More specifically, she is interested in utilizing technology to increase dissemination. Currently, she is working on her Master's thesis, which seeks to develop a machine-learning algorithm that predicts lapses from a weight loss diet.


Melanie Jeske
Environmental Studies & Economics, BS/MS ’15, Honors: B.S. Economics, B.S. Environmental Studies, M.S. Science, Technology, and Society
Mel pursued two undergraduate degrees, allowing her to explore multiple areas of research as an undergraduate student. Her research interests, under the advisement of Dr. Kelly Joyce, are at the intersection of medical and environmental health knowledge production and public health policy. Her master's thesis research examines the history and organization of obesity research, the usage of BMI (body mass index) as a tool of measurement and standardization, and the translational practices which serve to extrapolate knowledge produced in obesity labs and epidemiological studies to inform public health policy and health guidelines.


Luke Mitchell
Life Science/Neuroscience, PhD, ’19
Luke is a first-year graduate student pursuing a PhD in neuroscience with the Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences and Professional Studies at DUCOM. His work in the lab of Dr. Barry Waterhouse is implemented in the rat model and centers on exploring the roll of norepinephrine, a neurotransmitter, in focusing and maintaining attention.

Robyn Smith
Physics, BS, ’15, Honors


Sean Miller
Neuroscience. (Drexel, BS Biology ‘12)
Graduate institution: Johns Hopkins

Dayne Swearer
Chemistry. UG: Drexel (BS/MS ‘14, Chemistry, Honors)
Graduate institution: William Marsh Rice University


The NSF GRFP recognizes and supports outstanding graduate students in NSF-supported STEM disciplines who are pursuing research-based masters and doctoral degrees at accredited US institutions.