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CBE senior Angela Chen wins NSF Graduate Research Fellowship

When meeting Angela Chen, one is greeted by a blazing intelligence and struck by her pointed interest in knowing how things work, fit together, and generally, “how things come to be.”

She notices small details and asks insightful questions, filing the data away for potential future reference. She calculates and plans out her time with precise detail. Most of all, she is curious -- and not only about scientific processes and procedures, but also about how people make choices and develop careers.

One of three undergraduate students at The Ohio State University to win a National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship this year, senior chemical engineering student Angela Chen is a researcher through and through. A talented and dedicated scientist, she talks animatedly about the work she and the rest of her team are currently doing in Professor David Wood’s laboratory. "The beauty and value of this work is that we have found a way to rapidly and cheaply screen massive amounts of compounds without having to sacrifice the lives of animals," she explains.

She is excited about winning the NSF Graduate Research Fellowship. "Basically, it will enable me to go to any school that I want to," she said. "I am leaning towards the University of Texas at Austin because of their research program and the type of research I am most interested in."

Angela was not the only Ohio State chemical engineering student to be recognized in this year’s NSF competition. CBE graduate William Levi Murch, who started a Ph.D. at Stanford in 2014, also won an NSF Graduate Research Fellowship.

In addition, CBE seniors Joseph Gauthier, who will be starting a Ph.D. at either Stanford or Minnesota in Fall 2015; Nathan Volchko, who is starting at either MIT or Princeton this Fall; and Robert Warburton, who is now working on a Ph.D. at Purdue, all received honorable mentions.

Winning an NSF Research Fellowship is a distinct honor, as the process is highly competitive. Only 14% of all students who apply for a Fellowship actually receive one. 

Students in the William G. Lowrie Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering have a strong tradition of being recognized in the National Science Foundation Research Fellowships competition. In the last ten years, 15 Ohio State chemical engineering students have received full NSF Graduate Research Fellowships – a considerable number. 

Previous winners include:

Hok Hei Tam and Joseph A.M. Weinstein-Webb (2014);

Kunal Sailesh Parikh (2013), as well as an honorable mention for Lauren Dellon;

Kevin Kaichuang Yang (2011), and an honorable mention for Ryan Clark and Kevin Kauffman;

Eric Ryan Sacia (2010), and an honorable mention for Mark Politz;

Craig Buckley and Jean Wheasler (2009);

Laura M. Ensign, Thomas M. Malott, Diana K. Snelling, and Theresa Vonder Haar (2007);

Imogen M. Pryce (2006); and Shona Patel (2005), as well as many other honorable mentions.

NSF, a federal agency created by Congress in 1950 to promote science, is the funding source for approximately 24 percent of all federally supported basic research conducted by America’s colleges and universities. 

NSF Fellowships provide three years of support for graduate study leading to research-based masters or doctoral degrees. Two thousand fellowships are awarded annually to graduating seniors and graduate students to ensure the vitality of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics in the United States. 

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