WKU student Nicholas Wright has been awarded a National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship.
WKU Chemistry student receives NSF Graduate Research Fellowship
|Date: Monday, May 7th, 2012||Return to Archive|
WKU chemistry student receives NSF Graduate Research Fellowship
A chemistry major from Berea, Wright works in the lab with Dr. Hemali Rathnayake, assistant professor of chemistry. His research has focused on solar energy, specifically working to construct nanoscale carbon-based materials to produce cost-effective portable solar plastics.
“I got involved in research after speaking with my advisor, Dr. Lester Pesterfield. He suggested that I go talk to Dr. Rathnayake because she is working with nanotechnology, an interest of mine,” Wright said. “I have now been involved in research for about three years.”
The Graduate Research Fellowship is the oldest graduate fellowship program in the country that supports graduate students in the sciences, social sciences, technology, engineering and mathematics. Since its establishment more than 50 years ago, the fellowship program has supported more than 46,000 scholars, many of whom have gone on to become Nobel laureates and members of the National Academy of Sciences.
Recipients of the NSF Graduate Research Fellowship receive an annual stipend of $30,000 for up to three years and a cost-of-education allowance to offset tuition and fees.
News of Wright’s scholarship success came to him through email.
“I was in shock and didn't know what to do. I was frozen on my couch and couldn't move,” he said. “After hearing the news and having just returned from the American Chemical Society conference, I had to get ready to present a poster over my research at the 1st Annual Kentucky Nanotechnology Symposium.”
“I would like to thank Dr. Hemali Rathnayake, Dr. Audra Jennings, Dr. Pesterfield, Dr. Kevin Williams, Amy Poynter, and the Chemistry Department for helping me achieve all of my successes.”
Wright worked with Dr. Jennings of the Office of Scholar Development as he crafted a personal statement and past research essay for the fellowship application. He turned to his research mentor, Dr. Rathnayake, for guidance as he developed and refined the required research proposal.
“I found Nicholas to be a sincere and diligent person with growing enthusiasm and self-confidence,” Dr. Rathnayake said. “Nicholas has achieved an unprecedented level of success synthesizing nanoplastics for organic-based solar cells, which is of great economic and environmental value. His work has resulted in a number of conference publications and two peer-reviewed communication paper publications. His strong organic synthetic knowledge as well as research experience gained during his undergraduate studies have enriched him as an efficient researcher in the field of materials science.”
Wright’s news was not the only success for WKU and the Chemistry Department in the 2012 Graduate Research Fellowship Competition. Johnathan Brantley, a 2010 chemistry graduate from Salem, also received this prestigious award. He is currently pursuing a Ph.D. in chemistry at the University of Texas at Austin. Like Wright, Brantley was active in research throughout his time at WKU.
In the fall, Wright will attend Vanderbilt University to pursue a Ph.D. in chemistry.
About the Office of Scholar Development: The Office of Scholar Development is committed to helping WKU students in all majors and degree programs develop the vision, experience and skills to be independent, engaged scholars. OSD welcomes the opportunity to work with students interested in the National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship or other similar opportunities.
Contact: Dr. Audra Jennings, (270) 745-5043.
- All Categories
- Academic Outreach
- Continuing & Professional Development
- Distance Learning
- Summer Sessions
- Winter Term
- Career & Workforce Development
- Lifelong Learning
- Society for Lifelong Learning
- WKU On Demand
- Study Away
- Faculty-Led Study Abroad
- Center for Faculty Development
- Cohort Programs
- Dual Credit
- Conferencing & Catering
- All Categories
- CHHS October 2011 E-Newsletter
- CHHS November 2011 E-Newsletter
- CHHS December 2011 E-Newsletter
- CHHS January 2012 E-Newsletter
- CHHS February 2012 E-Newsletter
- CHHS March 2012 E-Newsletter
- CHHS April 2012 E-Newsletter
- CHHS May 2012 E-Newsletter
- CHHS June 2012 E-Newsletter
- CHHS July 2012 E-Newsletter
- CHHS August 2012 E-Newsletter
- CHHS September 2012 E-Newsletter
- CHHS October 2012 E-Newsletter
- CHHS November 2012 E-Newsletter
- CHHS December 2012 E-Newsletter
- CHHS January 2013 E-Newsletter
- CHHS February 2013 E-Newsletter
- CHHS March 2013 E-Newsletter
- CHHS April 2013 E-Newsletter
- CHHS May/June 2013 E-Newsletter
- CHHS July 2013 E-Newsletter
- Archived CHHS News
- CHHS October 2013 E-Newsletter
- CHHS November 2013 E-Newsletter
- CHHS December 2013 E-Newsletter
- CHHS February 2014 E-Newsletter
- CHHS November 2014 E-Newsletter
- CHHS May 2014 E-Newsletter
- CHHS April 2014 E-Newsletter
- CHHS June 2014 E-Newsletter
- CHHS July 2014 E-Newsletter
- CHHS December 2014 E-Newsletter
- CHHS August 2014 E-Newsletter
- CHHS September 2014 E-Newsletter
- CHHS October 2014 E-Newsletter
- CHHS January 2015 E-Newsletter
- CHHS February 2015 E-Newsletter
- CHHS May 2015 E-Newsletter
- CHHS July 2015 E-Newsletter
- CHHS August 2015 E-Newsletter
- CHHS September 2015 E-Newsletter
- CHHS November 2015 E-Newsletter
- CHHS October 2015 E-Newsletter
- CHHS September 2011 E-Newsletter
- CHHS August 2011 E-Newsletter
- CHHS July 2011 E-Newsletter
- CHHS June 2011 E-Newsletter
- CHHS May 2011 E-Newsletter
Friday, November 27th
Harsh Moolani, a second-year student from Owensboro, and Alexandra Wright, a second-year student from Union, were both honored by the Siemens Competition as National Semifinalists.
download Adobe Acrobat Reader.
Note: documents in Excel format (XLS) require Microsoft Viewer,
Note: documents in Word format (DOC) require Microsoft Viewer,
Note: documents in Powerpoint format (PPT) require Microsoft Viewer,
Note: documents in Quicktime Movie format [MOV] require Apple Quicktime,