May 13, 2024

NDSU graduate students receive prestigious fellowship award


Two NDSU graduate students were selected to receive the highly competitive and prestigious 2024 National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship Award. 

The students are:

  • Madison Ashbach, electrical and computer engineering, advised by Sumitha George, NDSU assistant professor of electrical and computer engineering
  • Matthew Pierce, psychology, advised by Jeremy Hamm, NDSU assistant professor of psychology

Additionally, Grace Tiffany, a graduate student in chemistry and biochemistry received an honorable mention. Tiffany is advised by Svetlana Kilina, NDSU professor of chemistry and biochemistry. 

The NSF Graduate Research Fellowship Program ensures the quality, vitality and diversity of the scientific and engineering workforce in the U.S., with the goal of supporting outstanding graduate students pursuing research-based master’s and doctoral degrees in NSF-supported science, technology, engineering and mathematics disciplines. 

The five-year fellowship provides three years of financial support inclusive of an annual stipend of $37,000. Fellows also have access to opportunities for professional development.

“I'm extremely grateful to have been chosen,” Ashbach said. “I am very thankful for all the help I received from my advisor Dr. George and everyone at the GRFP workshop who helped me succeed.”

Ashbach is currently working on research that entails designing memory architectures with emerging technologies. 

“It feels validating to know that the NSF is willing to put money behind my research,” Pierce said. “As with many other folks, I've struggled with imposter syndrome since becoming a grad student and earlier, but receiving this reward has alleviated some of that. It also makes me immensely proud of the people I work with and who helped me set up my application; science is a collaborative process, and I think my experiences putting together fellowship applications has driven that home.”

Pierce is thankful for the support he’s received from Hamm, along with Katherine Duggan, NDSU assistant professor in the psychology department, Laura Thomas, NDSU associate professor in the psychology department, and Odalis Garcia, a psychology doctorate student. 

Pierce’s research focuses on modifiable psychological factors that may impact cognitive decline, and specifically, how internal control and control over oneself might be used to slow cognitive decline. 

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