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Joshua Farr: 2017 NSF Graduate Research Fellow

Joshua Farr
Joshua Farr

Joshua Farr

Major: Chemistry
Hometown: Worthington, OH

What is your research focus, and how might your research change the world?
My research focus is organic chemistry, which has a high potential for impact because of how adaptable and interdisciplinary it can be it. I currently work in a lab using organic chemistry to create molecules that can be used to study the brain. This has the potential to garner a greater understanding of how the brain works at a fundamental level, which has implications for understanding diseases like Alzheimer’s or depression.

How does it feel to earn this fellowship, and how will this fellowship enhance your research?
I was thrilled! Having support from the NSF will allow me to dedicate my time in my first years of graduate school to research rather than teaching, which will allow me to accelerate the progress I make at the beginning of my PhD.

What advice can you share with other students applying for the NSF GRF?
The award doesn’t fund research, it funds the applicant. While a novel research proposal is important, it is more important that you present yourself as a competent researcher who has what it takes to do great work while on the NSF.

How did your experience as an undergrad at Stony Brook help you become competitive for this award?
I think Stony Brook opened a lot of doors for me; I was able to begin research during my sophomore year and make significant progress which I could relay in the application. Summer research funding through URECA, campus poster presentations, and the numerous outreach opportunities on campus helped my application stand out to as well.

Where will you attend graduate school this fall? How has receiving the GRF influenced your choice?
I will attend Stanford University this Fall. NSF did not have a great influence on my decision, but it did put my mind at ease knowing that I will likely be able to join my top choice lab.

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