Eight graduates awarded prestigious NSF Fellowships


Eight Grinnell College graduates have been awarded highly competitive research fellowships from the National Science Foundation (NSF). The prestigious fellowships carry a $30,000 stipend and $10,500 cost of education allowance for up to three years of study at some of the world’s most highly regarded research institutions.

Each NSF Fellow conducted undergraduate research while at Grinnell, where approximately one-third of students major in science. About half of all Grinnell science majors complete research projects on campus, and many more do research at other universities, abroad and in national laboratories. Since 2006, more than 25 Grinnell graduates have received the prestigious fellowships. Six Grinnellians were also named honorable mention by the 2012 NSF Fellows program.

NSF Fellows are expected to contribute significantly to research, teaching and innovations in science and engineering. More than 80 percent of NSF Fellows earn Ph.D.s in their chosen fields within 10 years of receiving the fellowships. Grinnell ranks 8th nationally in the percentage of graduates who later complete Ph.D.s in the sciences.

The Grinnell graduates named NSF Fellows for 2012:

• Lauren Cantley, a 2011 physics graduate, is pursuing a Ph.D. in mechanical engineering at the University of Colorado, Boulder, where she conducts research on the mechanical properties of nanomaterials.

• Deisy Del Real, a 2007 sociology graduate, is pursuing a Ph.D. at the University of California, Los Angeles. Her research focuses on the psychological well-being of undocumented young adults.

• Heather (Anu) Kramer, a 2009 anthropology and biology graduate, is pursuing a Ph.D. in environmental science at the University of California, Berkeley, where she conducts research in modeling wildfires using light detection and ranging.

• Karl Kremling, a 2010 biology and Spanish graduate, will pursue a Ph.D. in plant biology at Cornell University, studying plant genetics to better understand yield gains in hybrid plants.

• Bryan Leland, a 2009 biological chemistry graduate, is pursuing a Ph.D. in cell biology at Yale University. His research focuses on the nuclear envelope, or membrane that surrounds the DNA inside of cells.

• Laura Mertens, a 2011 chemistry graduate, is pursuing a Ph.D. at the California Institute of Technology, where she uses physical chemistry methods to study atmospherically relevant chemical reactions.

• Alison Mikulyuk, a 2002 biology graduate, is pursuing a Ph.D. in limnology and marine sciences at the University of Wisconsin, Madison. Her research involves the impact of aquatic plants on lake ecosystems.

• Matthew Nielsen, a 2010 biology graduate, is pursuing a Ph.D. in ecology and evolutionary biology at the University of Arizona, where he plans to study the behavioral adaptation of predatory insects to urban environments.

Grinnell College is a nationally recognized, private, four-year, liberal arts college located in Grinnell, Iowa. Founded in 1846, Grinnell enrolls 1,600 students from all 50 states and from as many international countries in more than 26 major fields, interdisciplinary concentrations, and pre-professional programs.


Grinnell, IA
Thursday, June 28, 2012 - 19:00