Drexel MSE Number One in the Nation in NSF Graduate Fellowships in Materials

Published on Wednesday April 2, 2008

Three materials science and engineering students have received federal fellowships.

BS/MS student Holly McIlwee (advisor:  Caroline Schauer), Ph.D. student in MEM and former MS student in MSE Alex Moseson (advisor:  Michel Barsoum), and Ph.D. student Stephen Niezgoda (advisor:  Surya Kalidindi) are recipients of the National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship (NSF GRFP).  In addition, Niezgoda is the recipient of a Department of Defense National Defense Science and Engineering Graduate fellowship (NDSEG).  Department of Chemical and Biological Engineering Ph.D. student Amy Peterson is the fourth recipient of the NSF GRFP at Drexel.

Honorable mention for the NSF GRFP went to MSE Ph.D. student Christopher Hobson (advisor:  Yury Gogotsi) and MSE B.S. student and Civil, Architectural, and Environmental Engineering Ph.D. student Jameson Detweiler.

The NSF GRFP is a prestigious and highly competitive fellowship which provides three years of support for graduate study leading to research-based master's or doctoral degrees.  McIlwee, Moseson, and Niezgoda are three of only 30 materials students who received the fellowship nationwide.  With three recipients, our department represents the largest number of awardees in materials for students receiving their B.S. at a particular institution.

These three students now make a total of six students from the Department of Materials Science and Engineering at Drexel University to receive the NSF fellowships.  Past recipients include Ph.D. students Kris Behler (advisor:  Yury Gogotsi), María Pía Rossi (advisor:  Yury Gogotsi), and John Chmiola (advisor:  Yury Gogotsi).

Holly McIlwee '08 (MSE)

While at Drexel University, Holly has worked in the Natural Polymers and Photonics Laboratory under the direction of Professor Caroline Schauer (MSE). Her research involves creating novel sensors while incorporating thin films of biopolymer, chitosan, and gold nanoparticles to attract and detect the presence of toxic metal ions, such as mercury or lead in water. After graduation, Holly will be funded by NSF-International Research and Education in Engineering (IREE) to conduct research in France over the summer.

Alexander Moseson '07 (BS in MEM/MS in MSE)

Alex is working toward his doctorate in MEM with research in MSE under the direction of Professor Michel Barsoum (MSE). Alexander was inspired by the technology used by the ancient Egyptians to cast parts of the pyramids in place, which has led him to work towards developing alternative concrete. The concrete will be affordable, easy to make, and produces little CO2, which will benefit developing communities. As an undergraduate, Alex was a member of 8 To The Bar, Drexel's all male a capella group, and Campus Crusade For Christ. Alex is a founding member and former president of the Drexel chapter for Engineers Without Borders (EWB).

Stephen Niezgoda '06 (MSE)

Stephen is a member of the Mechanics of Microstructures Group (MMG), led by Professor Surya Kalidindi (MSE).  The MMG approach considers micro-scale structure in the development of new materials for particular applications.  Stephen's mathematical analysis of microstructure will take much of the guesswork out of material design.  Stephen's practical experience as an aircraft mechanic taught him how to analyze and solve problems and inspired him to learn more.  Now, as a Ph.D. student, he is able to address the "why" questions.  Stephen has published two papers in peer-reviewed journals, and has more in production.  He is involved with several volunteer activities, including tutoring and mentoring undergraduate students, and designing and running a hands-on demonstration for the ASM Materials Camp. He plans to graduate in 2009 with his doctorate in MSE.  Stephen has been funded by the NSF IGERT program for the past two years.

Tagged as Michel Barsoum Graduate Surya Kalidindi Caroline Schauer Awards National Science Foundation NSF Graduate Research Fellowship