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2024 NFS Graduate Research Fellowship Program announces awardees and honorable mentions


Twelve boilermakers from the College of Science are honored 

The National Science Foundation (NSF) has announced the 2024 Graduate Research Fellowship Program (GRFP) which included 20 awardees and 12 honorable mentions from Purdue University.  Of the pool of innovators, the Purdue University College of Science students stood out with ten awardee offers and two honorable mentions: 


  • Katie Wilson: Applied Math major with EAPS and CS minors; Field of study: Geosciences - Computationally Intensive Research  
  • Abigail Haydee Soliven: Chemistry (ACS), Honors College with distinction, and a minor in English; Field of study: Chemistry - Chemical Catalysis  
  • Meenakshi McNamara: Physics and Math major; Field of study: Mathematical Sciences - Quantum Information Science  
  • Brady R Layman: Chemistry graduate student in Professor Jeffrey Dick’s laboratory; Field of study: Chemical Measurement and Imaging 
  • Mikail Habib Khan: CS, with Mathematics minor; Field of study: Comp/IS/Eng - Formal Methods, Verification, and Programming Languages  
  • Daniel Miroslav Hristov: Chemistry and Honors College; Field of study: Chemistry - Chemical Structure, Dynamics, and Mechanism  
  • Stephanie Sara DeLancey: Chemistry with Psychology minor; Field of study: Chemistry - Undergraduate American Chemical Society accredited  
  • Addison Curtis: EAPS graduate student; Field of study: Geosciences - Geochemistry 
  • Grace Crim: Chemistry and Electrical Engineering, minor in Biological Sciences; Field of study: Engineering - Electrical and Electronic Engineering  
  • Haleigh Brown: EAPS graduate student Field of study: Geosciences and Astrobiology 


Honorable Mentions:  

  • Mariana Blanco-Rojas: EAPS graduate student 
  • Sara Cuevas-Quiñones: Physics and EAPS major 


The purpose of the NSF GRFP is to help ensure the quality, vitality, and diversity of the scientific and engineering workforce of the United States. A goal of the program is to broaden participation of the full spectrum of diverse talents in STEM. The five-year fellowship provides three years of financial support inclusive of an annual stipend of $37,000. 

To learn more about GRFP or to apply for future awards, current students at the undergraduate and graduate level can check the NSF GRFP resources webpage. The College of Science is proud of our students who are driven to instigate the next giants leaps in STEM and look forward to following their research into their five-year fellowships term. 

Learn more about some of the students who were offered the fellowship below.  


Katie Wilson 

“I am about to graduate from Purdue with a bachelor’s degree in applied math and minors in computer science and EAPS at Purdue. I fell in love with atmospheric science at Purdue, specifically clouds, and am excited to continue my education on the topic in grad school. At Purdue, I have been deeply involved in the Women in Science Program as a mentee, mentor, and team leader, from which I have made so many fun memories and impactful relationships. Being awarded the GRFP changed my future and opened exciting opportunities for me. Because of it, I am now able to pursue research in a field that I am passionate about without having to stress much over funding, something that greatly influenced my graduate school decision. I am very grateful for the opportunity to prove myself and make discoveries with my research as a woman in science. My plans for the GRFP are to go to the University of Wisconsin-Madison and get my master’s through their Atmospheric and Oceanic Science Research Program. I plan to do research on cloud microphysics/aerosols to learn more about factors that affect cloud properties and how this impacts climate change using numerical models and remote sensing data.” 


Haleigh Brown 

“I am a computational astrobiologist working within the PHAB lab under Associate Professor Stephanie Olson at Purdue’s Earth Atmosphere and Planetary Sciences department. Broadly my work involves using numerical climate models and machine learning to better understand exoplanet habitability. I have wonderful peers and mentors helping me achieve my goals and I am thrilled to have the support of the NSF GRFP as well. I am eager to take advantage of the new tools accessible to me now due to the NSF and I am confident this will aid in my ability to contribute great work within my field.” 


Mikail Habib Khan:  

“I'm a senior in Purdue Computer Science, working on Programming Languages research with some Physics Education work on the side. I want to eliminate incidental complexity from software engineering to make programming more productive and accessible. For fun I like skating, reading sci-fi/fantasy, and playing video games. I worked with Associate Professor Tiark Rompf on CS research and Professor Sanjay Rebello for physics. Assistant Professor Ben Delaware has also given me a ton of advice and told me to apply for the GRFP in the first place. To me, the GRFP means that I'll have more freedom to pursue my interests in grad school. I won't have to worry about finding a funded project, and I might be able to leverage it to more easily find visiting scholar positions. I'm starting a PhD at CMU, where there are a ton of advisors I'd love to work with. I might work on WebAssembly, Program Synthesis, or Verification.” 


Abigail Soliven 

“I am a senior earning my degree in chemistry on the ACS track and a minor in english. When not in the lab, I spend my time involved on campus or reading, soaking up sunshine, and making playlists. The NSF GRFP is a vote of confidence in my abilities as a researcher and the impact I can make in my field as a graduate student and beyond. Through the GRFP, I will be able to focus entirely on my work and advancing chemical knowledge by knowing I have the financial support and resources to be creative and inventive. I am pursuing a PhD in organic chemistry at UC Berkeley post-graduation from Purdue. Boiler up and go bears!” 


Stephanie DeLancey 

“I am graduating from Purdue with a BS  degree in chemistry (ACS) and a minor in psychology. I have worked in the Ren lab for three and a half years, studying iron-based organometallic complexes with applications in the catalysis and materials fields. I look forward to starting my PhD at UNC Chapel Hill in the fall where I will continue to pursue research themes rooted in sustainable chemistry. Being awarded an NSF GRFP was an incredible honor that greatly validated my potential as a researcher. I am so grateful to have been recognized by a prestigious institution and provided the financial support to pursue my research goals with greater freedom and focus in grad school. However, receiving this honor has also made me all the more thankful for my mentorship in the Ren group that shaped me into the scientist I am today.  Starting this summer, I will begin working towards my PhD in inorganic chemistry at UNC Chapel Hill. I hope to conduct impactful research with relevance to energy storage and conversion, potentially with the CHASE Solar Hub at UNC. I cannot wait to start my next chapter knowing the NSF GRFP will allow me to more freely explore these interests.” 


Grace Crim 

“I am majoring in biochemistry (Department of Chemistry) and electrical engineering. During my time at Purdue, I have been involved in research, WISP, WIE, and SWE, as well as first-generation student honors and ambassador programs. I am passionate about interdisciplinary research and involving multiple STEM communities to solve big research problems. The GRFP is an accomplishment that everyone in research recognizes. I learned about the prestige of the NSF GRFP in sophomore year, when the graduate student I was doing research under won the award herself. I was lucky to have incredible research advisors that helped me through learning about the fellowship application process and graduate school as a whole. Coming from financial need, having the financial freedom to pursue research without worrying about funding is a relief. My plans are to pursue a PhD in electrical and computer engineering from Georgia Institute of Technology. My goal is to design micro-scale sensors with biological processes and chemical detection in mind, specifically for wildlife monitoring and astrobiology. Lab on a chip technology is new and promising. I am hoping to diversify applications of this tech ethically and responsibly to help fields other than ECE. My PhD will consist of a lot of time in the semiconductor cleanroom and collaborating with researchers from other universities and national labs in many different fields. Purdue has prepared me well for this type of research and I can't wait to get started!” 


Daniel Hristov 

“I am originally from Knoxville, TN with backgrounds from Bulgaria and Puerto Rico. I have been completing research with Professor Julia Laskin’s group the past four years working with electrochemistry and mass spectrometry-based techniques to better understand the fundamentals of ions and charged interfaces. I really enjoyed working with my graduate mentor, Hugo and having meaningful discussions about the molecular dynamics of our systems. I am truly grateful to the valuable mentoring provided by Dr. Hugo Samayoa and Professor Julia Laskin, and the scientists I interned for at Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, Dr. Grant Johnson and Dr. Venky Prabhakaran, that allowed me to broaden horizons in my projects and think critically about results. This award has meant a great amount not only to myself as a scientist, but every scientist who has mentored and supported me throughout my four years. I will start my PhD in physical chemistry in the fall at the University of California Berkeley.” 


Addison Curtis: 

“I am a queer, disabled geologist currently working towards my master’s in earth science. My research in the Thermochronology @ Purdue Lab under Assistant Professor Marissa Tremblay focuses on using radioactive isotopes in specific minerals to determine the ages and thermal histories of rocks in the North Cascades, WA to better understand regional tectonic changes about 50 million years ago! Outside of my research, I am extremely passionate about geoscience education and increasing representation for both disabled and Queer individuals in geology and academia as a whole. I am extremely grateful to have received the NSF GRFP to support me through the rest of my graduate school career. I am honored to join a cohort of other Fellows and continue to strive for excellence in both science and outreach. Graduate school is difficult for anyone but especially for someone who holds my identities, so having this support helps to relieve some of that pressure. It is also extremely validating and encouraging to receive such an award, showing that despite my additional challenges, I am still an intelligent, capable scientist with potential to significantly impact my field. Since I am currently a master’s student, I plan on using the GRFP as support in my future PhD program. While I don’t know where I will be going next, this award allows me to be able to pursue the specific research that I am interested in at another institution without having to worry about the logistics of future funding.”  


Meenakshi McNamara 

“I am graduating with a math and physics double major, and I plan to become a professor someday. I am passionate about conducting research in these fields, as well as helping build community as I have been doing through club leadership and mentoring programs. In my free time, I love to read, write, and draw. You may also find me rock climbing or playing board games with friends. I am honored to have been awarded the NSF GRFP. Winning this fellowship means that the committee felt that I have the potential to become a strong graduate student and researcher, and this is very meaningful because my goal is to have a research career. Further, communicating pure math research well can be difficult, and I certainly learned important skills during the application process. Thus, it was amazing to see that these efforts paid off and I have more confidence in my ability to communicate about my research and apply for similar things in the future.” 


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