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Four Southwestern Graduates Receive NSF Fellowships to Support Their Graduate Studies

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    A National Science Foundation Grant allowed Egan to do “data mining” as a research intern for the Pittsburgh Science and Learning Center.

Fewer than 10 percent of applicants receive these prestigious grants

Four students who graduated from Southwestern in 2009 have received grants from the National Science Foundation to support their studies in graduate school.  

The NSF’s Graduate Research Fellowship Program is for students who are college seniors, first-year graduate students, or second-year graduate students. The fellowships are funded for up to three years and provide students with a yearly stipend of $30,000. The NSF typically funds fewer than 10 percent of the applications it receives for these fellowships.  

“Given that this competition awards only the best and brightest of the applications in all areas of the sciences, we should be very pleased with this outcome,” said Jesse Purdy, a professor of psychology who has helped select recipients of these fellowships in the past.

Two students who took animal behavior classes with Purdy received the fellowships − Delia Shelton received a fellowship to start her graduate studies at Indiana University and Katy Siciliano received a fellowship to continue her studies in biopsychology at the University of Michigan, where she is working in the van Anders Social Neuroendocrinology Lab.

The other two fellowships went to Colin Kyle, a biology major who is in graduate school at the University of Chicago, and Patrick Egan, a psychology major who is in graduate school at Indiana University.  

“I wouldn’t be too surprised to learn that this is the first time a college of our size had four recipients of the fellowship in a given year,” Purdy said.

NSF reviewers pointed to the extensive undergraduate research experience the Southwestern applicants had, including publications, presentations and international experience. Shelton worked in Purdy’s lab, Kyle worked with Romi Burks, associate professor of biology, Siciliano worked with Fay Guarraci, associate professor of psychology, and Egan worked with Traci Giuliano, professor of psychology.

Jacquie Muir Broaddus, chair of the Psychology Department, said getting graduates these fellowships has been a goal of her department for a long time. “Thanks to sustained faculty and student effort it has finally happened,” she said.