Seven Arts & Letters students, alumni awarded NSF Graduate Research Fellowships

Author: Erin Blasko

Eleven current or former University of Notre Dame students have been awarded National Science Foundation (NSF) Graduate Research Fellowships, with an additional nine singled out for honorable mention for the award. Seven of the 11 students majored in the College of Arts & Letters.

Established in 1952, the Graduate Research Fellowship Program provides financial and other support to students in NSF-backed STEM (science, technology, engineering, math) disciplines to participate in research-based master’s and doctoral degree programs at accredited institutions in the U.S.

Applicants work closely with their advisers to create compelling personal statements and research plans.

Notre Dame students can also consult with experts from the Flatley Center for Undergraduate Scholarly Engagement (CUSE) or its counterpart, the Office of Grants and Fellowships, in the Graduate School.

“On behalf of CUSE, I’d like to congratulate the Notre Dame students and alumni recognized this year by the NSF GRFP. I’d also like to express my gratitude to their mentors and advisers, especially Emily Hunt, the assistant director of scholarly development in CUSE, who serves as our primary undergraduate and alumni fellowships adviser for the NSF GRFP,” said Jeffery Thibert, the Paul and Maureen Stefanick Director of CUSE. “I hope that the continued recognition of Notre Dame applicants by the NSF GRFP inspires any future students or alumni applying for a graduate degree in the social sciences, sciences or engineering fields to also consider applying for the NSF GRFP, as the funding provided through the program means that they won’t be limited to working with mentors who have funding available, and the network provided through the program can offer an early boost in their careers.”

Mary Ann McDowell, associate dean for professional development in the Graduate School, said, “On behalf of the Graduate School, I congratulate all the Notre Dame students and alumni who received recognition from the NSF. I thank the Graduate School Office of Grants and Fellowships, particularly assistant directors Kayla Hurd and Michael Skalski, for their ardent recruitment of students to apply for NSF GRFP awards and tireless work advising students on their applications. These efforts have been enormously successful, resulting in a nearly 25 percent success rate with 29 awards and 15 honorable mentions for Notre Dame graduate students over the last five years. A highlight this year was that two ND-PREP scholars were recognized with NSF GRFP awards. The ND-PREP program is an NIH-supported one-year post-baccalaureate experience for individuals from groups traditionally underrepresented in STEM fields. I am enormously grateful to the Grants and Fellowships team for assisting the ND-PREP scholars with their submissions and congratulate them on a 50 percent success rate. I look forward to seeing Notre Dame’s continued success in the future.”

The fellows are:

Arts & Letters undergraduates 

    • Michelle Kwok (particle physics) - physics and philosophy major, with a minor in Glynn Family Honors Program

Other undergraduates

    • Jack Kalicak (mechanical engineering)

Arts & Letters undergraduate alumni

  • Kevin Angell (political science) - economics and political science major, with a supplementary major in theology and minor in Glynn Family Honors Program
  • Sarajane Smith (anthropology) - anthropology major with supplementary major in Latino studies
  • James Zwierzynski (developmental biology) - gender studies major

Other undergraduate alumni

  • Erin Neu (biomedical engineering)
  • Fiona Neylon (mechanical engineering)

Arts & Letters Graduates

  • Daniela Parra (cognitive psychology)
  • Khirsten Wilson (psychology, research and experimental)
  • Rebecca Warren (cognitive psychology)

Other graduates

  • Dominique Gramm (bioengineering)
  • Yamilet Margarita Rivera Cintron (chemical engineering)

The honorable mentions are:

Arts & Letters undergraduates

  • Evan Bursch (plasma physics) - physics and philosophy major, with a supplementary major in theology
  • Anousha Greiveldinger (astronomy and astrophysics) - physics and France and Francophone studies major, with a minor in Glynn Family Honors Program

Other undergraduates

  • Sydney Coil (nuclear physics)
  • Quinn Mackay (chemical oceanography)
  • Jonathan Tittle (mechanical engineering)
  • Jessica Wysocki (nuclear engineering)

Arts & Letters undergraduate alumni

  • Charlotte Probst (ecology) - biological sciences and philosophy major, with a minor in Glynn Family Honors Program

Other undergraduate alumni

  • Nicholas Crnkovich (nuclear engineering)


  • Menglin Jiang (environmental engineering)

Originally published by Erin Blasko at on May 01, 2024.