Katie Samuelson '14 was in her tennis coach's office when she received a life-changing email: she had won a National Science Foundation (NSF) Graduate Research Fellowship to pursue a Ph.D. in ocean engineering.
"I was so shocked that I had to sit on the floor and have my teammate finish reading it to me," says the engineering major from East Wakefield, N.H.
The NSF recognizes outstanding students in science, technology, and engineering and provides three years of financial support and research and professional development opportunities. Samuelson will participate in a joint program with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI).
"This program gives me access to the MIT professors, courses, and laboratory facilities while I'm conducting research in the field at Woods Hole," says Samuelson, who will start by examining sediment transport and turbulent tidal flows in areas such as Fire Island, N.Y., and Martha's Vineyard, Mass., this summer.
The fellowship highlights an impressive list of science-related recognition for Swarthmore students this year. Also caught by surprise via email was Jacob Collard '15, who won a summer undergraduate research fellowship from the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST).
"It was actually my first time checking my email in about a month, so I was expecting to wade through a lot of junk," says Collard, a linguistics major and computer science minor from Sunbury, Ohio. "Needless to say, I was quite happy."
Collard will work on a natural language processing project in the NIST Information Technology Laboratory, aligning with his Swarthmore studies and career plans.
Another student, Benjamin Goloff '15, received honorable mention from the Udall Foundation, an independent federal agency that offers scholarships to students committed to the environment and public service.
"I'm so grateful for this honor and for the opportunity to join the Udall alumni network," says Goloff, an environmental governance and biology special major from New York, N.Y. "I'm sure this will be a wonderful resource in furthering my goal to help bring together people of diverse backgrounds - spanning research, policy, and activism - to define environmental action as a means toward social-ecological justice."
Two other Swatties, Rebecca Senft '15, an honors neuroscience major from St. Johnsville, N.Y., and Ascanio Guarini '16, an engineering major from New York, N.Y., received honorable mentions from the Barry Goldwater Scholarship and Excellence in Education Program. The program aims to provide a continuing source of highly qualified scientists, mathematicians, and engineers by awarding scholarships to college students committed to research careers in these fields.