• April 10, 2021
 UTEP Students, Alumni awarded National Science Foundation Fellowships

This year’s NSF GRFP recipients with UTEP ties are David Esparza, Alma Idali Hernández, Rubyann Olmos, Arturo Rodriguez, Sebastian Vargas and Gerardo Estrada Zavala.

UTEP Students, Alumni awarded National Science Foundation Fellowships

Four students and two alumni from The University of Texas at El Paso recently were awarded the prestigious National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship (NSF GRFP).

“The GRFP provides a remarkable opportunity for our most promising science graduate students,” UTEP Provost John Wiebe said. “These students have competed with the best in the nation for this highly prestigious prize. Their success reflects well on them, on their mentors and on UTEP’s status as a major research institution that is training the next generation of leaders in science.”

This year’s NSF GRFP recipients with UTEP ties are David Esparza, Alma Idali Hernández, Rubyann Olmos, Arturo Rodriguez, Sebastian Vargas and Gerardo Estrada Zavala.

Olmos, Rodriguez and Vargas are enrolled in UTEP’s Graduate School. Hernández expects to earn her bachelor’s in microbiology in spring 2021 and continue her education at the University of New Hampshire. Esparza attends Cornell University in New York, and Zavala is a student at Harvard University in Massachusetts.

“We are excited to see six current and former UTEP students among this year’s NSF GRFP awardees,” said Melanie Meinzer, Ph.D., director of UTEP’s Office of Student Fellowships and Awards (OSFA). “UTEP has a strong record of preparing NSF GRFP applicants – a total of 44 UTEP students and alumni have received this prestigious award since 2010.”

Esparza is a doctoral student in ecology and evolutionary biology at Cornell. He earned his bachelor’s degree at UTEP in biological sciences with a minor in psychology.

Hernandez plans to pursue her Ph.D. in ecosystem science at the University of New Hampshire.

Olmos is a master’s student in physics who earned her bachelor’s in physics in 2020.

Rodriguez is a doctoral student in mechanical engineering and received his bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering in 2020.

Vargas is in pursuit of his master’s degree in mechanical engineering. He earned his bachelor’s degree in the same subject with a minor in mathematics in 2020.

Zavala is a doctoral student in chemical biology at Harvard who earned his bachelor’s degree in chemistry with a minor in biomedical engineering.

Recipients have until April 30, 2021, to accept or decline their award.

To be eligible for the NSF GRFP, individuals must be U.S. citizens, U.S. nationals or permanent residents, and they must intend to enroll in a research-based graduate degree program in an eligible field of study in STEM or STEM education.

UTEP’s OSFA will launch a series of workshops this summer for students interested in applying for the NSF GRFP in fall 2021.

The nationally competitive program provides funds for individuals who will pursue master’s and doctoral degrees in NSF-supported STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) disciplines.

Awardees are selected based on their demonstrated potential to make significant achievements in those fields. The fellowships last five years and include three years of financial support, namely an annual stipend of $34,000 and an education allowance of $12,000 to the fellow’s academic institution.

Click here to learn more about the NSF GRFP.

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