July 29, 2014 Editor's Note: As of July 1, 2012, Virginia Tech no longer adds an additional stipend to cover the costs of research equipment, health insurance, and similar expenses.

The National Science Foundation awarded six Virginia Tech current students with prestigious Graduate Research Fellowships. The awardees are:

  • Marian G.  Alicea of Isla Verde, Puerto Rico, a master’s degree student in environmental engineering in the College of Engineering. Alicea is a member of Lambda Theta Alpha Latin Sorority Inc., Society of Women Engineers, and graduate ambassador of the Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers. As an undergraduate, she participated in research in the environmental sciences at both Argonne National Laboratory and Oak Ridge National Laboratory. At Virginia Tech, she currently participates in the research project "Quantifying Sustainable Remediation of Chlorinated Solvents" under the mentorship of Mark Widdowson, professor and assistant department head of civil and environmental engineering in the College of Engineering.
  • Austin Cory Bart of Newark, Delaware, a doctoral degree student in computer science in the College of Engineering. Bart is also pursuing a certification in learning sciences as he explores his dissertation on contextualizing undergraduate computer science education through innovative, technologically-scaffolded, Big Data libraries. His work has been published at software engineering and computer science education conferences, and has become a key element of Virginia Tech's General Education Reform plan to introduce computational thinking across the undergraduate program
  • Tamara Fetters of Warrenton, Virginia, a doctoral student in biological sciences in the College of Science. Fetters works with Joel McGlothlin, assistant professor of biological sciences, on the project  “Thermal trait variation in an invasive lizard: adaptation or plasticity?”  She is also a fellow in the Interfaces of Global Change Interdisciplinary Graduate Education Program at Virginia Tech.
  • Peter Fino of Auburn Hills, Michigan, a doctoral student in mechanical engineering in the College of Engineering. Fino's dissertation research focuses on the effects of concussions on gait and turning biomechanics in collegiate athletes under the guidance of Thurmon Lockhart, professor of industrial and systems engineering in the College of Engineering, and Per Gunnar Brolinson, associate dean of clinical research at the Edward Via College of Osteopathic Medicine and head team physician for Virginia Tech Athletics. Additionally, Fino has published research on the coefficient of friction required to prevent a person from slipping while walking around a corner and has submitted results on the effects of corner obstacles on body kinematics while turning a corner. His research interests are sports biomechanics and dynamical analyses of biomechanical systems.
  • Brantley Hall of Christiansburg, Virginia, a doctoral student in the genetics, bioinformatics, and computational biology program. His research focuses on understanding and harnessing mosquito sex-determination for use in novel vector control programs under the direction of Jake Tu, professor of biochemistry in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences. He developed one of the first systematic methods to identify mosquito Y chromosome genes and published first-author papers in BMC Genomics and Genome Biology and Evolution.
  • Peter Nguyen of Ashburn, Virginia, a master’s student in the Bradley Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering in the College of Engineering. Nguyen is a member of Eta-Kappa Nu, Tau Beta Pi, and the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers, where, as the Student Professional Awareness Conference chair, he hosted the 2013 IEEE S-PAC at Virginia Tech. In addition, he presented his research on "Effects of Thermal Annealing on Oxide-Semiconductor Heterointerfaces" at the 12th annual University Undergraduate Research Conference.

The NSF Graduate Research Fellowships honor outstanding students in the fields of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics who are pursuing graduate studies in those fields. Fellows receive a three-year annual stipend of $32,000, plus opportunities for international research and professional development. In addition, NSF provides a cost of education allowance. 

Virginia Tech also adds an additional stipend to cover the costs of research equipment, health insurance, and similar expenses.

Dedicated to its motto, Ut Prosim (That I May Serve), Virginia Tech takes a hands-on, engaging approach to education, preparing scholars to be leaders in their fields and communities. As the commonwealth’s most comprehensive university and its leading research institution, Virginia Tech offers 240 undergraduate and graduate degree programs to more than 31,000 students and manages a research portfolio of $513 million. The university fulfills its land-grant mission of transforming knowledge to practice through technological leadership and by fueling economic growth and job creation locally, regionally, and across Virginia.

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