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Eleven Students Earn 2016 NSF Graduate Research Fellowships, Break Stony Brook Record

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Eleven students earned NSF GRFP fellowships in 2016 at Stony Brook University.
Left to right: Anthony Stapon, Tanya Victor, Alisa Yurovsky, Emilie Bouda, Tenille Taggart, Sierra Kuzava, Nicole Bender, Alyssa Liguori, Andrew Hargrove, Katherine Kling, and Alex Borowicz.

Graduate researchers set a new Stony Brook record this year, earning 11 fellowships and 14 honorable mentions in the 2016 National Science Foundation (NSF) Graduate Research Fellowship Program (GRFP).

The fellowships provide each winner a $34,000 annual stipend for three years plus a $12,000 yearly cost-of-education allowance. The NSF chose 2,000 winners out of 17,000 applicants from 488 institutions nationwide.

“We are exceedingly proud of this year’s 11 GRF recipients. It’s a huge boost for graduate education at Stony Brook,” said Vice President for Research David Conover. “Given that each award is worth $138,000 summed over three years, the total value of 11 awards is about $1.5 million. This also means that grant-based support for these fellows can be shifted to support other students or related expenses.”

The NSF GRFP was established in 1952 to help develop and boost diversity of the United States’ science and engineering research workforce by supporting graduate students who pursue research-based master’s and doctoral degrees in NSF-supported STEM disciplines.

This year, Stony Brook’s batch of fellows exemplifies the qualities of diversity supported by the NSF GRFP. Our 11 recipients represent a variety of graduate programs and disciplines, ages, ethnicities and work/life experiences, and their hometowns stretch from Honolulu to Burkina Faso with several U.S. states in between. Four students in particular are scholars or fellows in the Center for Inclusive Education, which works to recruit, retain and graduate underrepresented and otherwise disadvantaged scholars.

Anne McElroy, professor and graduate program director in the School of Marine and Atmospheric Sciences, lead a writing seminar with support from the Office of the Vice President for Research and the Graduate School to help 100 students prepare NSF GRFP applications.

“It was a real pleasure to work with so many talented and hardworking students across campus, and very gratifying to see the hard work we all put into this pay off,” said McElroy. “Even those students who were not officially recognized gained valuable experience from the process. I hope more students will participate next year.”

Students interested in applying for the 2017 NSF GRFP should contact Anne McElroy at or (631) 632-8488.

Meet Stony Brook University’s 2016 NSF Graduate Research Fellows
Click each name to learn more.

Nicole BenderNicole Bender
Grad program: Ecology and Evolution
Undergrad: BA in Applied Mathematics, Marist College
Hometown: Warwick, NY
Advisor: Heather Lynch

Alexander BorowiczAlexander Borowicz
Grad program: Ecology and Evolution
Undergrad: BA in Human Ecology, College of the Atlantic
Hometown: Cedarburg, WI
Advisor: Heather Lynch

Emilie BoudaEmilie Bouda
Grad program: Molecular and Cellular Pharmacology
Undergrad: BA in Biochemistry, Hunter College of CUNY
Hometown: Burkina Faso, West Africa
Advisor: Markus Seeliger

Andrew HargroveAndrew Hargrove
Grad program: Sociology
Undergrad: BA in Psychology, Gonzaga University
Hometown: Honolulu, HI
Advisor: Rebekah Burroway

Katherine KlingKatherine Kling
Grad program: Biological Anthropology
Undergrad: BA in Anthropology, University of Texas at Austin
Hometown: Houston, TX
Advisor: Patricia Wright

Sierra KuzavaSierra Kuzava
Grad program: Clinical Psychology
Undergrad: BA in Psychology, Columbia University
Hometown: Santa Fe, NM
Advisor: Kristin Bernard

Alyssa LiguoriAlyssa Liguori
Grad program: Ecology and Evolution
Undergrad: BS in Biology and Environmental Sciences, Dowling College
Hometown: Ridge, NY
Advisor: Dianna Padilla

Anthony StaponAnthony Stapon
Grad program: Molecular and Cellular Pharmacology
Undergrad: BS in Biochemistry, Pace University
Hometown: Riverhead, NY
Mentors: Isaac Carrico, Miguel Garcia-Diaz, Orlando Sharer

Tenille TaggartTenille Taggart
Grad program: Clinical Psychology
Undergrad: BA in Psychology, San Diego State University
Hometown: Centerville, UT
Advisor: Nicholas Eaton

Tanya VictorTanya Victor
Grad program: Molecular and Cellular Pharmacology
Undergrad: BA in Biology, SUNY College at Potsdam
Hometown: Central Islip, NY
Advisor: Stella Tsirka

Alisa YurovskyAlisa Yurovsky
Grad program: Computer Science
Undergrad: BS in Computer Science, Carnegie Mellon University
Hometown: Stony Brook, NY
Advisor: Steven Skiena

Honorable Mentions
Rachel DeMayo (Chemistry)
Dhruve Dixit (Physics and Mathematics)
Tara Dolan (Marine and Atmospheric Sciences)
Ian Dwyer (Marine and Atmospheric Sciences)
Katie Gordon (Sociology)
Sarah Horn (Biomedical Engineering)
Adam Laing (Anatomical Sciences)
Taylor Nicole Medwig (Biology and Health Sciences)
Priscilla Moley (Biology)
Gavin Piccione (Geosciences)
Jeffrey Snyder (Biomedical Engineering)
Jaime Sommer (Sociology)
Alexander Dimitrie Tasi (Anthropology)
Fernando Torales-Acosta (Physics)

By Brian Smith

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