“Recipients of the fellowships have turned out to be cornerstones of society in terms of their contributions to science -- 23 have won Nobel Prizes. And here are two relatively small schools that have played parts in this by nurturing and mentoring NSF fellows.”
-- Allan Headley, director of the NSF Graduate Research Fellowship Program.
May 9, 2003 (Lexington, Ky.) -- The University of Kentucky measures up well on the list of 2003 National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship recipients: Six former UK undergraduates received an NSF Fellowship, which is worth $27,500 a year for three years.
This puts UK on par with – and in some cases ahead of – each of its benchmark initiations, universities to which UK compares itself.
Not only are UK’s 2003 NSF Fellows all Kentuckians, four of them hail from the relatively small Kentucky towns of Greenville (pop. 4,398) and Winchester (pop. 16,724).
Whether such a phenomenon has occurred before is not known; the NSF does not track such statistics.
But the chances seem slim that two NSF Fellows would emerge from the same high school on the same year. Seemingly even more miniscule are the odds that four NSF Fellows would concurrently represent two relatively small high schools.
The rarity – perhaps even uniqueness – of this singularity was not lost on the NSF.
“Recipients of the fellowships have turned out to be cornerstones of society in terms of their contributions to science -- 23 have won Nobel Prizes. And here are two relatively small schools that have played parts in this by nurturing and mentoring NSF fellows,” said Allan Headley, director of the NSF Graduate Research Fellowship Program.
Natalie Aronson, Louisville, a 2003 UK graduate with a bachelor’s degree in chemical engineering who will attend graduate school the University of Pennsylvania as a doctoral candidate researching the physiology that underlies autoimmune diseases.
Jennie Campbell, Winchester, a 2002 UK graduate with a bachelor’s degree
in mechanical engineering, is a graduate student at UK. Her graduate research focuses on public transportation, specifically an analysis of data that could lead to faster and more cost-effective construction of cable-stayed bridges.
Brandon Conley, Lexington, a 2003 UK graduate with bachelor’s degrees in chemistry the classics who will attend the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Conley has not determined the nature of his NSF-funded research, although one of interests is exploration of methods to make new pharmaceuticals and improve existing ones.
Craig Duvall, Greenville, a 2001 UK graduate with a bachelor’s degree in bioengineering, is attending graduate school at Georgia Tech. His graduate research focuses on the formation of new blood vessels in persons suffering from cardiovascular diseases.
Angela Green, Greenville, a 2002 UK graduate with a degree in bioengineering, is pursuing her master’s degree at UK. She'll reserve her NSF funding for her doctoral research. Green’s current research focuses on bioengineering involved in equine transport.
Megan Knowles, Winchester, a 2001 graduate of UK with a bachelor’s degree in psychology, is attending graduate school at Northwestern University. Her graduate research focuses on strategies that would allow people to regain a sense of belonging after interpersonal rejection. The results of this research could help avert tragedies like the incident at Columbine High School.
In addition, UK graduate school student Cathy Richardson of Stanton, who earned a bachelor’s degree at Transylvania University and a master’s degree at Morehead State University, received an NSF Fellowship. Richardson is currently working on her doctorate at UK in the Department of Plant Pathology, focusing on ways to prevent a fungus that causes rice blast, a disease that kills enough rice each year to feed 60 million people.
The NSF awards about 900 fellowships in March of each year to the nation’s most promising young mathematicians, scientists and engineers who show the potential to make significant contributions to research, teaching and industrial applications in science, mathematics and engineering. Since its inception in 1952, the NSF has awarded more than 38,000 fellowships.