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In spring 2021, 19 UNC-Chapel Hill students were awarded Graduate Research Fellowships from the National Science Foundation. Read below for more information on our awardees and to access the materials of successful applicants from UNC and beyond.

  • Supraja Chittari (Department of Chemistry)
  • Isabella Young (Eshelman School of Pharmacy)
  • Ileana Faye Fenwick (Department of Marine Sciences)
  • Mingyu Choi (Department of Pharmacology)
  • Sarah Mae Parker (Curriculum in Bioinformatics and Computational Biology)
  • Anna Kathryn Wheless (Department of Biochemistry and Biophysics)
  • Mariah Stewart (Department of Pharmacology)
  • Samantha Rose Litvin (Department of Chemistry)
  • Rebecca Claire Radomsky (Department of Chemistry)
  • Rachael Ann Jedlika Ditzler (Department of Chemistry)
  • Benjamin Jared Kruse (Department of Chemistry)
  • Olivia Sarita Chandrasekhar (Department of Mathematics)
  • Taylor Shannon Stevenson (Department of Physics and Astronomy)
  • Joseph Moscoso (Department of Physics and Astronomy)
  • Adrienne Solange Bonar (Department of Psychology and Neuroscience)
  • Moriah James (Department of Anthropology)
  • Saud Jabr (Department of Geography)
  • Anthony Sterling Lindsay (Department of Political Science)
  • Austin Hoang-Nam Vo (Department of Sociology)

The following students received honorable mentions:

  • Julia Anne Noonan Brom (Department of Chemistry)
  • Emily Anne Churchman (Department of Physics and Astronomy)
  • Rebecca Clark (Department of Chemistry)
  • Rachel Cooke (Department of Chemistry)
  • Mallory Jean Feldman (Department of Psychology and Neuroscience)
  • Riya Gohil (Biological & Biomedical Sciences Program)
  • Aliyah Griffith (Department of Marine Sciences)
  • Tashii Brown (Department of Chemistry)
  • Matthew Lanetti (Department of Chemistry)
  • Dana Su-Ling Lim (Department of Biology)
  • Lillian Christine Lowery (Department of Microbiology and Immunology)
  • Lucy Lurie (Department of Psychology and Neuroscience)
  • Madison McCall (Department of Psychology and Neuroscience)
  • McKenzie Madison Murvin (Curriculum in Genetics and Molecular Biology)
  • Olivia Havemeyer Pollak (Department of Psychology and Neuroscience)
  • Cole Christopher Sorensen (Department of Chemistry)
  • Ashley Trojniak (Eshelman School of Pharmacy)
  • Seth D. Veenbaas (Department of Chemistry)
  • Kayleigh Voos (Department of Cell Biology and Physiology)
  • Jordan Young (Department of Sociology)


Student Spotlights

photo of Sondrica Goines
Sondrica Goines

Sondrica Goines became an NSF Graduate Research Fellow when she won in 2020. Her research investigates perfluoroalkyl and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS), exceedingly minute particles found in household and industrial products that can make their way into natural water sources. A doctoral student in chemistry and member of a research group that studies these cancerous and other disease-causing particles, Goines is examining the ways in which PFAS molecules may harm human health at the single-cell level and creating her own equipment to do so. Outside of the laboratory, Goines supports prospective STEM graduate students via her podcast, Curly Headed Chemist. Don’t miss this episode on GRFP applications! Read more about Goines’ achievements in The Graduate School Magazine and on the Chemistry Department website.


photo of Michele Kelley
Michele Kelley

Michele Kelley won an NSF Graduate Research Fellowship in 2019 for her work as a doctoral student in physics. Kelley works in a laboratory that focuses on developing new methodologies for magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and spectroscopy. Where an image in a conventional MRI comes from the hydrogen that is naturally abundant in the human body, Kelley is working to use xenon gas as the imaging agent to learn more about brown adipose tissue. This is the good fat that helps regulate energy expenditure, making it a target of interest for future anti-obesity drugs; however, little is known about the role of this tissue in adult humans. Using xenon gas, Kelley can image it and monitor its activation in rodents. Outside of the laboratory, Kelley passionately mentors young women who want to study science and break down knowledge barriers that prevent people from pursuing interests in STEM. Read more about her achievements in The Graduate School Magazine.


Example Proposals

The Graduate Funding Information Center maintains the Successful Proposals Collection, a database of Carolina students’ successful external award proposals. The SPC currently has more than 35 proposals for the GRFP. Use these exemplars to inspire your applications. To access the GRFP proposals, select “Graduate Research Fellowship Program (GRFP)” from the Program Title section.

There are also external resources for GRFP support. These independent blogs are written by past Fellows and share advice for future students; note that deadlines and specific requirements may no longer be accurate, but the tips can be applied for any application cycle.