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Two SOE Students Garner Prestigious NSF Graduate Research Fellowships

May 10, 2010

Two current UNM School of Engineering students, Monica Madrid and Angelica Sanchez, were recently awarded prestigious National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowships. The Fellowships include a $30,000 stipend and a $10,500 tuition allowance for up to three years. The Graduate Research Fellowships, awarded on a competitive basis by an extensive application process, provide three years of support for graduate study leading to research-based master’s or doctoral degrees.

Additionally, former UNM student Anne Elizabeth Hellebust also received the Fellowship. She is currently studying Bioengineering at William Marsh Rice University.

The Graduate Research Fellowship Program (GRFP) is designed to invest in graduate education for diverse individuals who have demonstrated their potential to successfully complete graduate degree programs in disciplines relevant to the mission of the National Science Foundation. It is intended for students who are in the early stages of their graduate study.

madridMonica Madrid conducts her research in collaboration with her faculty advisor, ECE Assistant Professor Jamesina Simpson. She is also a research assistant at UNM's Center for High Tech Materials. Working with Simpson and ECE Professor Majeed Hayat, she is helping to construct full Maxwell's equation models of the interaction of specific synthetic-aperture radar pulses with vibrating structures in a project titled, “Co-registered Vibrometry & Imaging: A Combined Synthetic-Aperture Radar & Fractional-Fournier Transform Approach.” The project began in 2008 and is funded by the Defense Intelligence Agency and the Department of Energy’s National Nuclear Security Administration.

sanchezAngelica Sanchez, a 2000 graduate of Rio Grande High School in Albuquerque, is currently pursuing a Ph.D. in Chemical Engineering/NanoMaterials/Microsystems under the mentorship of Distinguished Professor of Chemical Nuclear Engineering Abhaya Datye. She conducts research in the field of heterogeneous catalysis. Her project involves the study of the sintering behavior of gold nanoparticles, which could be an important step in finding a cause for the loss or deactivation of nucleation sites for the gold catalyst that occurs during the sintering process. Understanding atomic scale details of nucleation sites would lead to a fundamental understanding of catalyst stability and could be applied to gold as well as other catalysts. This work is funded by NSF’s PIRE program.

Through UNM AMP, she has also been awarded an LSAMP BD Fellowship supporting her first two years of graduate study at UNM, and was recruited through the efforts of UNM’s NS/MS IGERT program. She earned a BS in Chemical Engineering from UNM in 2009. Her career goal is the research and development of alternative and renewable energy resources.