MISSOULA – The National Science Foundation recently awarded six University of Montana students with the 2023 Graduate Research Fellowship Program award – one of the nation’s most prestigious honors in science, technology, engineering and math.

As part of the award, each student is provided a five-year fellowship with NSF, including three years of financial support, an annual stipend of $37,000 and a cost-of-education allowance of $12,000 to the student’s current institution.

“UM students continue to outpace many of their peers in efforts to secure prestigious awards and nationally recognized scholarships,” said Kylla Benes, director of UM’s Office of External Scholarships and Fellowships. “The NSF Fellows who earned this award represent the high-level STEM research that students undertake while on our campus. We are thrilled to see each of them continue their efforts through the support of the NSF.”

The six fellowships earned by UM students are the most in the history of Montana’s flagship institution. The award winners and their majors are:

  • Marcelo Almora Rios, mathematics education.
  • Bridget Creel, ecology.
  • Rosalee Elting, organismal biology.
  • Dominick Faith, microbial biology.
  • Connor Meter, ecology.
  • Ethan Shafron, ecology

The record number of NSF Graduate Research Fellowship Program award winners is a testament to UM’s rapidly growing research enterprise.

A year ago, UM earned the top-tier “R1” research institution designation. This recognition classifies UM as one of the top research universities in the world. During the past decade, UM research expenditures have more than doubled – reaching an all-time high of $126 million last fiscal year.

“The level of research at UM has never been greater,” said Scott Whittenburg, UM vice president for research and creative scholarship. “With a record number of NSF Fellows this year, UM is once again showing the rest of the country the top-tier, graduate-level research that takes place on our campus each day.”

“We are incredibly proud of the work our faculty do in recruiting such talented graduate students, who in turn play a vital role in advancing UM’s research and teaching missions,” said Ashby Kinch, dean of the UM Graduate School. “The GRFP Awards really demonstrate the range and depth of talented graduate students that UM attracts on the basis of our strong graduate programs and our dynamic faculty.”

In addition to the six UM students who received this year’s GRFP awards, another UM student and two former students were recognized with honorable mentions. Those students are Sophia Fitzgerald, Charlotte Langner and Autumn Robinson.

- by UM News Service -


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