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WKU student, recent grads, honored by NSF fellowship

A current WKU student and four recent graduates were honored by the National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship Program.

Sarah Schrader of Bowling Green, who is graduating in May, and 2013 graduates Elaine Flynn of De Mossville and Michael Powers of Bowling Green, were selected for the prestigious fellowship. Graduates Brittany Morgan (2012) of Franklin and Jordan Olberding (2013) of Turner, Maine, received honorable mention.

The NSF Graduate Research Fellowship Program (GRFP) helps ensure the vitality of the human resource base of science and engineering in the United States and reinforces its diversity. The program recognizes and supports outstanding graduate students in NSF-supported science, technology, engineering, and mathematics disciplines who are pursuing research-based master’s and doctoral degrees at accredited United States institutions.

As the oldest graduate fellowship of its kind, the GRFP has a long history of selecting recipients who achieve high levels of success in their future academic and professional careers. The reputation of the GRFP follows recipients and often helps them become life-long leaders who contribute significantly to both scientific innovation and teaching. Past fellows include numerous Nobel Prize winners. Fellows share in the prestige and opportunities that become available when they are selected.

Fellows benefit from a three-year annual stipend of $32,000 along with a $12,000 cost of education allowance for tuition and fees, opportunities for international research and professional development, and the freedom to conduct their own research at any accredited U.S. institution of graduate education they choose.

Sarah Schrader

Sarah Schrader

Schrader, who is majoring in biology, chemistry and Mandarin Chinese, will be pursuing graduate studies in the fall. While at WKU, she has been a part of the Honors College at WKU and Chinese Flagship Program. She previously attended the Gatton Academy of Mathematics and Science and earned a Barry M. Goldwater Scholarship, the Pearson Prize for Higher Education, a Teach and Learn in Korea (TaLK) Scholarship and a Critical Language Scholarship. Schrader was WKU’s first finalist for the prestigious Rhodes, Marshall and Gates-Cambridge scholarships, and she was a finalist for the Harry S. Truman Scholarship in 2013. She has conducted research at WKU through the Howard Hughes Medical Institute-sponsored Genome Discovery and Exploration Program and at the Chinese Academy of Sciences Shanghai Institute of Biochemistry and Cellular Biology, Princeton University and New York University.

Flynn, an Honors College graduate with bachelor’s degrees in geology and chemistry, is completing a doctoral degree in geochemistry at Washington University in St. Louis, Mo. While at WKU, she presented her research at five scientific conferences, wrote seven successful grants and won an NSF Research Experience for Undergraduates (REU) Fellowship to work in the Bahamas.

Powers, who earned a bachelor’s degree in geology, is a graduate student in the Boone Pickens School of Geology at Oklahoma State University. As an undergraduate, Powers conducted research at the National Synchrotron Light Source at Brookhaven National Laboratory and won an NSF REU Fellowship to study meteorites at the American Museum of National History in New York City.

Morgan earned a bachelor’s degree in biochemistry and is now a graduate student at Duke University. She is a graduate of the Honors College at WKU and earned Scholar of the College honors for the Ogden College of Science and Engineering. As a junior, she was awarded a Barry M. Goldwater Scholarship. She plans to conduct research in molecular toxicology and teach at the university level.

Olberding earned bachelor’s degrees in investigative biotechnology and biochemistry and is a graduate student at Yale University where she is in the PhD. program in biological and biomedical sciences. She is a graduate of the Honors College at WKU, was named Outstanding Biology Student in 2013 and conducted research on how cancer cells grow and migrate using fruit flies.

About the Office of Scholar Development: The Office of Scholar Development is committed to helping WKU students in all majors and degree programs develop the vision, experience and skills to be independent, engaged scholars. OSD welcomes the opportunity to work with students interested in nationally competitive scholarships.

Contact: Dr. Audra Jennings, (270) 745-5043.

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