Two UCF McNair Scholars Win National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship

Posted by on Monday, May 20, 2013 5:31 - 0 Comments

UCFIn April of 2013, two McNair scholars from the University of Central Florida (UCF) were awarded the National Science Foundation (NSF) Graduate Research Fellowship. The two scholars were among only 2,000 students selected nationwide to receive the award.

The NSF Graduate Research Fellowship Program recognizes and supports outstanding graduate students in NSF-supported science, technology, engineering and mathematics disciplines who are pursuing research-based masters and doctoral degrees at accredited U.S. institutions. The program’s purpose is to ensure a diverse population among the scientific and engineering fields. Benefits include a three-year annual stipend of $30,000, a $10,500 annual cost-of-education allowance, international research and professional development opportunities and access to TeraGrid supercomputing facilities.

The two scholars awarded the fellowships are excited about their future research careers. Monica Thomas is finishing her first year in the Cell and Molecular Biology Ph.D. program at Duke University. Tatiana Viecco, who graduates this year, will be attending the University of Cambridge.

NSFWhen asked how the program assisted them, each of the scholars emphasized the importance of the personal and technical support the program provided. Viecco explained that the support of the McNair community made the difference and was instrumental in her success. “The reality of pursuing a Ph.D. was not in my future until becoming part of McNair. Then, it became something so real”. Thomas explained that since the day she was accepted into McNair, the program has been involved every step of the way. “Thanks to their guidance and resources, I was able to take advantage of many opportunities that have helped me become a better student, scientist and person”.

Since 2007, eleven University of Central Florida McNair scholars have been awarded NSF fellowships and four scholars have received honorable mentions. The program sends a special thanks to Dr. Robin Walker from the University of Missouri, Columbia for her amazing work with the scholars over the past several years.

UCF McNair Scholar Winners:

• Monica Thomas, Duke University (2013)
• Tatiana Viecco, University of Central Florida (2013)
• Lilian Milanes, University of Kentucky (2012)
• Christina Restrepo, University of Central Florida (2012)
• Elise Hernandez, University of Michigan (2011)
• Rene Diaz, Georgia Tech University (2010)
• Keon Vereen, University of Washington (2010)
• Anamary Leal, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University (2010)
• Roberto Miguez, University of Michigan (2009)
• Melonie Sexton Williams, Vanderbilt University (2009)
• Enrique Ortiz, University of Central Florida (2007)

UCF McNair Scholar Honorable Mention Awards:

• Elise Hernandez, University of Michigan (2011)
• Jamie Durate, University of California Irvine (2010)
• Keon Vereen, University of Central Florida (2010)
• Melonie Sexton-Williams, Vanderbilt University (2008)