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Drexel's 2018 NSF Graduate Research Fellowship Program (GRFP) Honorees

April 5, 2018

Seven Drexel students and recent alumni received the prestigious NSF Graduate Research Fellowship and two received Honorable Mentions. These students were selected from over 12,000 applicants nationwide.

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 2018 NSF Graduate Research Fellows are:

Anthony Abel
BS/MS Chemical Engineering/Materials Science ’17, Honors
Drexel faculty mentor: Jason Baxter
Graduate Institution: University of California, Berkeley

David GoodmanDavid Goodman
PhD student, Biomedical Engineering
Drexel faculty mentor: Catherine von Reyn


Sophia LeeSophia (Sophie) Lee
PhD student, Chemical Engineering
Drexel faculty mentor: Maureen Tang
Undergraduate Institution: Massachusetts Institute of Technology


Valerie Niemann
BS Chemical Engineering ’18, Honors
Drexel faculty mentor: Aaron Fafarman


Emily Ostrow
BS/MS Environmental Science ’18, Honors
Drexel faculty mentor: Jason Weckstein

Neha ThomasNeha Thomas
BS/MS Biomedical Engineering ’17
Graduate Institution: Johns Hopkins University


Jacqueline Tawney imageJacqueline Tawney
BS Mechanical Engineering ’18, Honors
Drexel faculty mentor: Leslie Lamberson



2018 NSF GRFP Honorable Mentions

Nick BarberNicholas Barber
BS Geoscience '18, Honors
Drexel faculty mentor: Loÿc Vanderkluysen

Erfaun NooraniErfaun Noorani
BS Electrical Engineering ’18
Drexel faculty mentor: Kapil Dandekar



Special thanks to the faculty and students who participated in campus review and outreach during the summer and fall terms to help these students strengthen their applications:

  • Aleksandra Sarcevi, Associate Professor of Information Science, College of Computing & Informatics
  • Amanda PentecostDrexel Fellowships Ambassador; PhD candidate Materials Science & Engineering
  • Andres Kriete, Associate Dean for Academic Affairs, Associate Teaching Professor School of Biomedical Engineering, Science, and Health Systems
  • Baris Taskin, Professor, Electrical and Computer Engineering
  • Caroline Schauer, Associate Professor, Materials Science & Engineering
  • Chris Weyant, Teaching Associate Professor, Materials Science & Engineering
  • Jacob Russell, Associate Professor, Department of Biology/Biodiversity Earth & Environmental Science
  • Jessica Weaver, Drexel Fellowships Ambassador, PhD student Materials Science and Engineering
  • Mira Olson, Associate Professor, Civil Architectural and Environmental Engineering
  • Noreen Robertson, Associate Vice Dean for Research, DUCOM
  • Paco Sangiah, Drexel Fellowships Ambassador; PhD candidate Computer Engineering
  • Rick McCourt, Professor, Department of Biodiversity, Earth & Environmental Science; Associate Curator of Botany, Academy of Natural Sciences of Drexel University
  • Sarah Gleeson, Drexel Fellowships Ambassador, PhD student Materials Science and Engineering
  • Scott Lerner, Drexel Fellowships Ambassador, PhD student Electrical Engineering
  • Sean O'Donnell, Professor, Department of Biology/Biodiversity Earth & Environmental Science
  • Steve May, Associate Professor and Graduate Advisor, Materials Science & Engineering

The NSF Graduate Research Fellowship Program (GRFP) helps ensure the vitality of the human resource base of science and engineering in the United States and reinforces its diversity. The program recognizes and supports outstanding graduate students in NSF-supported science, technology, engineering, and mathematics disciplines who are pursuing research-based master's and doctoral degrees at accredited United States institutions.

As the oldest graduate fellowship of its kind, the GRFP has a long history of selecting recipients who achieve high levels of success in their future academic and professional careers. The reputation of the GRFP follows recipients and often helps them become life-long leaders that contribute significantly to both scientific innovation and teaching. Past fellows include numerous Nobel Prize winners, U.S. Secretary of Energy, Steven Chu, Google founder, Sergey Brin and Freakonomics co-author, Steven Levitt.

Fellows share in the prestige and opportunities that become available when they are selected. Fellows benefit from a three-year annual stipend of $34,000 along with a $12,000 cost of education allowance for tuition and fees (paid to the institution), opportunities for international research and professional development, and the freedom to conduct their own research at any accredited U.S. institution of graduate education they choose.

NSF Fellows are anticipated to become knowledge experts who can contribute significantly to research, teaching, and innovations in science and engineering. These individuals are crucial to maintaining and advancing the nation's technological infrastructure and national security as well as contributing to the economic well-being of society at large.

For more information about the NSF GRFP, contact the Drexel Fellowships Office or visit