Clarkson University Scholar Named Prestigious NSF Fellow

Posted by on Wednesday, July 27, 2011 21:29 - 0 Comments

Clarkson University undergraduate Maria Lang has received a National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship.

Maria C. Lang, a senior mechanical engineering major from El Paso, Texas, received the fellowship. She is a member of Clarkson’s Honors Program and a Ronald E. McNair Scholar.

NSF Graduate Research Fellowships are the most prestigious awards available to students beginning their graduate studies in engineering and the sciences. The ranks of NSF Fellows include individuals who have made transformative breakthroughs in research and have become leaders in their chosen careers, including several Nobel Laureates.

Lang entered Clarkson as one of the first cohort of the S-STEM program funded by NSF in 2007. She was admitted into the Honors Program after her freshman year due to her outstanding performance.

Lang was inspired by late astronaut McNair and a former McNair scholar to dream of becoming an astronaut. She participated in the NASA Academy in 2010, working in the propulsion branch at Goddard Space Flight Center with Rich Luquette and Paul Mason.

Her honors thesis is on the computational fluid dynamics of nano-aerosols, supervised by Prof. Suresh Dhaniyala. After graduation, Lang will pursue her Ph.D. in aerospace engineering at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, where she will investigate electric propulsion/plasma dynamics with Prof. Iain Boyd. She is also a recipient of the Rackham Merit Fellowship there at the Rackham Graduate School.

“Maria has been an outstanding scholar and role model for her fellow McNair Scholars,” said Tammy McGregor-Twiss, assistant director of Clarkson’s McNair Program. “Her strong work ethic, drive and passion have led her to aspire, advance and achieve at every step of her undergraduate career. From obtaining two McNair research opportunities at NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, to participation in numerous professional conferences, tutoring and honors research, Maria is very deserving of this fellowship.”

“Maria exemplifies the all-around excellence of an Honors student,” said Jon D. Goss, director of Clarkson’s Honors Program. “Not only is she a brilliant student doing cutting-edge research, but she also tutors math and physics at Clarkson, and is extensively involved in outreach to promote sciences and engineering in K-12 education in the region. On top of that, she is an accomplished pianist and she imagines the prospect of playing in the first piano quartet in space when she succeeds in becoming an astronaut.”

The National Science Foundation’s Graduate Research Fellowship Program is intended to help ensure the vitality of the human resource base of science and engineering in the United States. It provides three years of support for graduate study leading to research-based master’s or doctoral degrees.

Clarkson’s Honors Program is an intensive four-year curriculum for exceptionally talented students. The University admits only 30 new students to the Honors Program each year.

As one of the eight federally funded TRIO programs of the U.S. Department of Education, the Ronald E. McNair Post-Baccalaureate Achievement Program prepares first generation & low-income and/or underrepresented students for doctoral studies. The McNair program hosted at Clarkson University is one of 200 across the United States.

– Original unedited article posted by Clarkson University News and Digital Content Services on April 7, 2011.

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