Two Louisiana Tech undergraduate students have earned prestigious fellowships from the National Science Foundation (NSF). George Cazenavette IV, cyber engineering, computer science and mathematics senior, and Brandon Cooper, chemistry senior, earned NSF Graduate Research Fellowship Program grants to pursue graduate studies.
Cazenavette has been accepted to Carnegie-Mellon University,where he will pursue a graduate degree in machine learning. Cooper has been accepted to the University of California, Irvine, where he will pursue a graduate degree in chemical synthesis.
“The NSF Graduate Research Fellowship Program awards are highly competitive, and I’m impressed, but not surprised, that George and Brandon earned these fellowships,” Dr. Hisham Hegab, dean of the College of Engineering and Science said. “They are excellent, dedicated students, and I expect they will become leaders in their fields.”
“I owe a lot of gratitude to my professors here at Louisiana Tech, especially Drs. Mike O’Neal, Pradeep Chowriappa, Ben Drozdenko, Jonathan Walters and Galen Turner, all of whom helped me a great deal with this process,” Cazenavette said.
“Students interested in graduate school should get involved in research as soon as possible by asking their professors what kind of research is going on in their department and how they can get involved. Additionally, NSF Summer REU (undergraduate research experience) programs are a great way to get research experience.”
“It’s an incredible honor to receive the Graduate Research Fellowship from the NSF, and I have to give a lot of credit to the Chemistry program here at Louisiana Tech,” Cooper added. “Specifically, I want to thank Drs. Elisabeth Fatila, Collin Wick and Marilyn Cox. Dr. Fatila, as my research adviser, has provided numerous opportunities for me to grow as a chemist and offered invaluable advice as I prepared my research proposal. Dr. Wick thoroughly reviewed my proposal, as well as my personal statement, and gave constructive critiques. Dr. Cox also reviewed my proposal and offered her expertise in natural product synthesis. Overall, the Louisiana Tech Chemistry program and its faculty have thoroughly prepared me for graduate school.”
Matthew McDougal, Louisiana Tech biology alumnus, also earned a fellowship. McDougal is currently enrolled in the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center.
In addition to the awardees, three Louisiana Tech students earned honorable mentions from the application process; Riley Cooper, chemistry senior, Rachel Hegab, biomedical engineering senior, and Christopher Rodriguez, cyber engineering senior were each recognized for outstanding research proposals.
The National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship supports outstanding graduate students in STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) fields who are pursuing research-based graduate degrees at accredited U.S. institutions. The fellowship covers up to 3 years of education and consists of a $34,000 per year stipend and an additional $12,000 per year cost of education allowance. The fellowship is a critical component of the NSF’s strategy to develop a globally engaged workforce to ensure the nation’s leadership in advancing science and engineering research and innovation.