UMBC’s 2016 NSF Graduate Research Fellows share gratitude for research experience, mentorship

Six members of the UMBC community, including one current undergraduate and five recent alumni, have received highly competitive National Science Foundation (NSF) Graduate Research Fellowship Awards for 2016.

“Through the NSF Graduate Research Fellowship Program, the nation invests in those individuals who have shown great potential to excel in STEM graduate programs and become the next generation of research leaders,” explains Janet Rutledge, vice provost and dean of the Graduate School at UMBC.

The high number of UMBC students and alumni who receive NSF Graduate Research Fellowship awards demonstrates national recognition of the quality of a UMBC education, which is particularly well regarded for providing robust research experiences for undergraduate and graduate students alike.

Gaurav Luthria ‘16, bioinformatics; Nicholas Rogers ‘15, chemical engineering; Akua Nimarko ‘15, biological sciences and psychology; Abraham Beyene ‘08, chemical engineering; Abigail Jackson ‘15, biochemistry and molecular biology; and Hythem Sidky ‘11, chemical engineering, all received fellowships for 2016. The three-year-long awards support students pursuing master’s and doctoral degrees in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) fields.

Luthria will use the fellowship funding to support a Ph.D. in bioinformatics and integrative genomics at Harvard Medical School, beginning in the fall. “Since coming to UMBC, I have received tremendous support and exposure to a wide array of research projects,” he says. “I am very excited for graduate school and hope to conduct significant research and develop computational tools to help doctors, scientists, and patients understand, diagnose, and treat human disease.”

Rogers received offers from ten Ph.D. programs, and is now deciding where he will pursue his degree.“The NSF GRF is a tremendous honor for me. It reflects my growth as a researcher and the mentorship that has guided me along this path,” he says. “Many others who have won this fellowship before me have emphasized that the impact of this award stretches beyond what I can see now, and I am very excited to see what opportunities it provides!”

Nimarko, pursuing a Ph.D. in neuroscience at Stanford University School of Medicine, shares, “I am grateful for the opportunities at UMBC that allowed me to successfully compete for this fellowship.”

Image: Akua Nimarko. Photo by Marlayna Demond ’11 for UMBC.