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12 Pitt students won a competitive NSF research fellowship

  • Technology & Science
  • Students
  • Kenneth P. Dietrich School of Arts and Sciences
  • Swanson School of Engineering
  • David C. Frederick Honors College

Twelve Pitt students have been awarded a competitive fellowship from the National Science Foundation’s (NSF) Graduate Research Fellowship Program that will support their graduate research.

This year’s awardees, a mix of Pitt graduate students and recent alums headed to other universities for their graduate degrees, include a Churchill Scholar and an award-winning entrepreneur, among other high-achieving STEM researchers.

“These awards reward students who have done amazing research and will do amazing research in the future,” said Lesha Greene, director of national scholarships in Pitt’s University Honors College.

The NSF program is open to senior undergraduates and first- and second-year graduate students who are pursuing careers in science, technology, engineering and mathematics research. Winners receive a $34,000 stipend for three years along with $12,000 to support tuition and fees for their universities.

“Knowing that there’s some funding to back me up — I’m feeling a ton of excitement and a bit relieved,” said awardee Asher Hancock (ENGR ’22), who’ll be heading to a PhD program after a year in Cambridge as a Churchill Scholar.

The application process is a challenging one in any year, but Greene noted that this year’s winners have overcome even more barriers than usual.

“A lot of the research that they’ve done took place over a pandemic, and I think that makes this win even more rewarding,” she said. “Being able to not only continue their research but also focus on this application speaks to their drive and their willingness to succeed.”

University Honors College scholar-mentors Josh Cannon and David Fraser guided students through the application process, and they want even more Pitt students to take home the award next year. The two are running a summer-long workshop series that will take students step-by-step through the application process to ensure they have the most competitive application possible.

Here are this year’s winners:

Graduate student winners

Jazlyn Gallego, bioengineering

Boris Mesits, physics and astronomy

Amanda Pellegrino, bioengineering

Tessa Rhinehart, biological sciences

Brittany Rodriguez, bioengineering

Rebecca Segel, chemical and petroleum engineering

Barbaro Zulueta, chemical and petroleum engineering

Undergraduate winners

Taylor Ayers, biological sciences (A&S ’19)

Eli Brock, electrical and computer engineering (ENGR ’22)

Asher Hancock, mechanical engineering (ENGR ’22)

Eric Jordahl, molecular biology and classics (A&S ’22)

Beatrice Milnes, biological sciences (A&S ’22)


— Patrick Monahan