Each year, the National Science Foundation’s Graduate Research Fellowship Program awards some of the nation’s most outstanding graduate students in science, technology, engineering and mathematics with a scholarship and stipend as well as unique opportunities for research and development. This year, that select class includes three Baylor students: Greg Bond, George Montanez and Eduardo Torrealba.
Each will receive a three-year annual stipend of $30,000 from the NSF as well as a $10,500 cost-of-education allowance for tuition and fees. The program also provides opportunities for international research and professional development, plus the freedom to conduct their own research at any accredited U.S. institution of graduate education they choose.
Bond, a senior mechanical engineering major, will pursue a doctorate in either materials science and engineering or chemistry at Rice University this fall; in either field, his research will involve the interplay between nanotechnology and energy. Montanez, currently pursuing a master’s degree in computer science at Baylor, will begin a doctorate program at Carnegie Mellon University to pursue research in the area of machine learning and artificial intelligence. Torrealba (pictured at right), a senior mechanical engineering major, will pursue his doctorate in mechanical engineering at the University of Illinois studying nano- and micro- electrical mechanical systems and materials.
Each had amazing things to say about how Baylor prepared them for this opportunity. Bond noted that the computer science department’s relative youth and small size plays to its advantage, allowing students extra interaction with professors. Montanez praised the “rigorous instruction” his professors provided and Baylor’s “combination of challenging academics and individualized faculty guidance.” Torrealba says he is considering becoming a professor based on what he saw from his teachers at Baylor, and “if I were to teach anywhere I would want it to be at a university like Baylor where I could emphasize my passion for faith and academics at the same time.” [Read more of their thoughts here.]
As the oldest graduate fellowship of its kind, the NSF’s Graduate Research Fellowship Program has an impressive resume of graduates that includes 30 Nobel laureates, U.S. Secretary of Energy Steven Chu, Google founder Sergey Brin and Freakonomics co-author Steven Levitt.
Sic ’em, NSF award recipients!