The National Science Foundation (NSF) has awarded graduate study fellowships to a senior and two recent alumnae of the College of Engineering at Virginia Tech. Each fellowship provides three years of funding, including a tuition supplement and a stipend of $30,000 per year.

The winning student is Alek Duerksen, a senior, from Waynesboro, Va., who is majoring in mining and minerals engineering. In addition to the fellowship, Duerksen also recently was named the 2009 Outstanding Standing Senior for the College of Engineering and was part of a national award-winning team at a student mining competition from Virginia Tech.

Duerksen has two minors, creative writing, in the College of Liberal Arts and Human Sciences, and geosciences, in the College of Science. He says he plans to stay at Virginia Tech to pursue a master’s degree in mining and minerals engineeering.

“The NSF Fellowship is as good as it gets for graduate students, and I know how extraordinarily competitive the awards are,” said Richard Benson, dean of the College of Engineering. The winning alumnae are

  • Elizabeth Traut, a May 2008 graduate from the mechanical engineering department. The Vienna, Va., resident is now at Carnegie-Mellon University in the direct doctoral mechanical engineering program.
  • Sherri Cook, a graduate of the Charles E. Via Jr. Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering also was named as the 2007-08 College of Engineering’s Outstanding Senior. She is now a master’s student at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor.

NSF graduate fellows are selected on academic merit, proven ability to conduct research and future academic and research goals.

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