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CEE’s Jerome, Three Others in College Win NSF Graduate Research Fellowships

Zachary Jerome poses in front of trees.

Four seniors from the Tickle College of Engineering have been selected for prestigious National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship Program (GRFP) awards, including civil engineering major Zachary Jerome.

“We’re very proud of our students and the work that they do,” said Dean Janis Terpenny, the Wayne T. Davis Dean’s Chair. “These selections reflect well upon them, their faculty mentors, and the many long hours they work together toward educational success and on important research. The diversity of disciplines represented in this year’s winners also underscores the commitment our entire college has toward student success.”

While he hasn’t decided where he wants to attend graduate school, Jerome was clear about what he wanted to study once there.

I am excited about the flexibility to develop transportation design policy while pursuing other research interests. My goals are to develop safe design practices for emerging technologies, increase public awareness of transportation challenges and solutions through cross-discipline communication, and establish international collaborations.”

—Zachary Jerome

In addition to Jerome, Yaw Mensah (electrical), and Alec Yen (electrical), and Spencer McDonald (aerospace) were chosen and will receive a $34,000 annual stipend for three years, $12,000 toward tuition and fees, and increased chances to take part in international research as well as other benefits as they begin their graduate studies in the fall. Jackson Wilt (aerospace) received an Honorable Mention from the program.

During selection, each student’s individual work is reviewed to determine if their ideas can advance society, secure the nation, or improve lives. It is extremely important for program applicants to have had measurable research experience at the undergraduate level—something the college and its faculty considers vital for graduate school preparation.

“Our faculty take active interest in having undergraduate students in their research groups, and it’s something they take pride in being able to do,” said Terpenny. “They want their students to succeed, not just as reflection of their success as a mentor, but because they are acutely aware of how important it is to help our students find their life’s passion, and as an engineer, make a difference in the world.”

Jerome said that Beaman Professor and Transportation Program Coordinator Asad Khattak, Professor Qiang He, and the School of Music’s Associate Professor of Viola Hillary Herndon made an impact on his education.

“I would like to thank my faculty mentors and advisors for providing research opportunities, leading me through a study abroad experience, and for their mentorship,” Jerome said.

GRFP began in 1952, making it the oldest fellowship program in the nation devoted to supporting outstanding graduate students in STEM disciplines. Participants have gone on to become Nobel Laureates, government leaders, or titans of industry, including Google co-founder Sergey Brin.

David Goddard: