18 Rice students, 10 alums awarded NSF Graduate Research Fellowships

Eighteen current Rice University students and 10 Rice alumni at other schools were selected for the 2014 National Science Foundation (NSF) Graduate Research Fellowship Program (GRFP). Only 2,000 students across the country were offered this fellowship award from the more than 14,000 applicants.

The program recognizes and financially supports outstanding graduate students in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) who are pursuing research-based master’s and doctoral degrees at accredited U.S. institutions. As the oldest graduate fellowship of its kind, the GRFP has a track record of selecting recipients who become lifelong leaders and contribute to scientific innovation and teaching. Since the program’s inception in 1952, more than 30 of NSF graduate research fellows have become Nobel laureates, and more than 440 have become members of the National Academy of Sciences.

The 14 Rice graduate students, four Rice seniors and 10 Rice alumni at other schools chosen as NSF graduate research fellows will receive support for three years of graduate study leading to research-based master’s or doctoral degrees in the fields of science and engineering relevant to the NSF’s mission. In addition to an annual stipend of $32,000 for the students, NSF will provide an annual cost-of-education allowance of $12,000 to their graduate school.

“The NSF Graduate Research Fellowships train the country’s future leaders in engineering, natural science and social science,” said Seiichi Matsuda, dean of graduate and postdoctoral studies at Rice. “It’s quite an achievement for Rice to have nearly 30 students awarded this highly competitive and prestigious fellowship.”


Recipients of the 2014 fellowships and their fields of study are listed below. Except where noted, all plan to do their fellowships at Rice.

Graduate students

  • Joshua Tyler Atkinson, engineering — systems, synthetic and physical biology.
  • Elisabeth Faye Bianco, materials research — chemistry of materials.
  • Boris Brimkov, mathematical sciences — computational mathematics.
  • Patrick Clay, life sciences — ecology.
  • Claire Coogan, chemistry — chemical synthesis.
  • Charlotte Irene Evans, physics and astronomy — condensed matter physics.
  • Daniel Luis Gonzales, engineering — bioengineering.
  • Elaa Hilou, engineering — chemical engineering.
  • Anneli Hoggard, chemistry — macromolecular, supramolecular and nanochemistry.
  • Sarah Michelle Kim, comp/IS/eng — computational science and engineering.
  • Miriam Kuzbary, mathematical sciences — topology.
  • Samuel Cody Martin, chemistry — chemical synthesis.
  • Mariane Martinez, life sciences — cell biology.
  • Chelsey Smith, engineering — bioengineering.


  • Julian Colton Cooper, chemistry — chemical synthesis.
  • Josue Jacob Lopez, materials research — electronic materials.
  • Aaron Layne Sharpe, physics and astronomy — applied physics.
  • Stephanie Tzouanas, engineering — bioengineering.

Rice alumni at other schools and the institution where they will do their fellowship

  • Andrew Charles Owens ’12, engineering — aeronautical and aerospace, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT).
  • Scott Lyle Nauert ’13, engineering — chemical engineering, Northwestern University.
  • Thi Dinh Vo ’12, engineering — chemical engineering, Columbia University.
  • Amy Liao ’12, engineering — electrical and electronic, University of California, Berkeley.
  • Brandon Chalifoux ’08, engineering — mechanical, MIT.
  • Andreia Annette Remirez ’13, engineering — mechanical, Vanderbilt University.
  • Erica Vernice Harris ’93, life sciences — ecology, Emory University.
  • David Edward Couch ’13, physics and astronomy– atomic, molecular and optical physics, University of Colorado at Boulder.
  • Christopher David White ’13, physics and astronomy — condensed matter physics, California Institute of Technology.
  • Katherine J. Barrett ’04, social sciences — medical anthropology, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Fifteen students from Rice received an honorable mention from the NSF GRFP: graduate students Laura Freeman Cenegy, Emily Pauline Hendryx, Christopher Allan Metzler, Samantha Jean Paulsen, Desmond E. Schipper, Kyle Warren Smith, Loah Ambrose Stevens, Emily Elizabeth Thomas and Kathryn Eliza Williamson; seniors Benjamin Austin Adler, Meredith Allyn Jackson, Nicholas R. Ryder, Karl Edward Schaefer and Calvin Mackenzie Schmidt; and alumnus Joseph Kung Yu ’13. Eleven Rice alumni at other schools also received an honorable mention: Emily Adkins ’13, Peter Young Borden ’12, Rebecca Hofstein Grady ’11, Robert Lewis ’10, Joscelyn Claraluz Mejias ’13, Patricia Loren Rayos Nano ’13, Johanna Ruth Ohm ’13, Tapash Sarkar ’13, Elliott Daniel SoRelle ’12, Emily J. Viehman ’13 and Rebecca Zaunbrecher ’13.

About B.J. Almond

B.J. Almond is senior director of news and media relations in Rice University's Office of Public Affairs.