Winthrop Scholar Wins NSF GRFP

Posted by on Sunday, April 30, 2017 23:21 - 0 Comments

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A Winthrop University senior and two alumni are recipients of the 2017 National Research Foundation (NSF)Graduate Research Fellowship Program (GRFP) fellowships that were announced March 17.

Three fellowships awarded in the same year to Winthrop students and alumni is an exceptional feat in what is a very competitive application process, said Karen Kedrowski, dean of the College of Arts and Sciences. For 2017, the NSF received more than 13,000 applications for this prestigious program and made 2,000 award selections.

Jordan Lewis, a biology and environmental science major and Eagle STEM Scholar and Orangeburg Wilkinson High School graduate from Orangeburg, South Carolina, will receive a fellowship in the area of disease ecology. The May graduate plans to study at Emory University with the goal of working for a federal agency such as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

A member of Winthrop’s Honors Program, Lewis is a researcher through the McNair Scholars program, a peer mentor, a tutor in the Academic Success Center, a Winthrop Ambassador and member of the Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity Incorporated. He conducted an award-winning study on the effects of coastal engineering projects on bacterial communities at Folly Beach, South Carolina, as a McNair Scholar.

It is especially challenging for an undergraduate to be selected for this prestigious fellowship, said Dwight Dimaculangan, chair of the Department of Biology. “This is quite an accomplishment,” he said.

Chemistry graduate Tyler Couch `13, a Fort Mill High School graduate who is now a graduate student at the University of Rochester, was selected for a biochemistry fellowship. He said he emphasized his research and leadership experiences while at Winthrop in his application statements. Reviewers told him this was a huge strength to his application.

Couch is a graduate of Winthrop’s American Chemical Society accredited degree program and only the third chemistry alum to be selected for a GRFP fellowship, according to Pat Owens, chair of Winthrop’s Department of Chemistry, Physics & Geology. Couch would like to continue to conduct basic science research in an academic setting once he completes his degree at the University of Rochester.

The third NSF recipient, Emili Moan `15, has a math degree from Winthrop and is earning a Ph.D. in statistics from N.C. State. “I hope to either teach or work in an industry setting after I get my degree,” she said, adding that there are lots of options for statistics graduates.

Moan, who graduated from Hartsville High School in Hartsville, South Carolina, credits her success to the research opportunities available at Winthrop and a great group of people in the math department and in the Office of Nationally Competitive Awards who encouraged her. “I’m the second math graduate from Winthrop to get the NSF fellowship in the past few years, and I think that that says a lot about what a great department we have,” Moan added.

For more information, contact Judy Longshaw, news and media services manager, at 803/323-2404 or

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