14 UCR Students Awarded National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowships

The NSF GRFs are a tribute to the education UCR offers to its students. In 2016 six UCR graduate students won the prestigious fellowships, and 11 in 2015

Fourteen UC Riverside students — eleven of whom completed, or will complete their undergraduate degrees at UCR — have been awarded the prestigious National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowships (NSF GRFs). In the photo (left to right) are current undergraduates Zizhong Xiao, Peter Stokes, Travis Wrightsman, Jocelyn Soto. carrie rosema

Fourteen UC Riverside students — eleven of whom completed, or will complete their undergraduate degrees at UCR — have been awarded the prestigious National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowships (NSF GRFs).

These students were among a total of 2,000 awardees chosen this year, out of more than 13,000 applicants nationwide. The selected students came from 449 baccalaureate institutions.

The NSF GRFs are a tribute to the education UCR offers to its students. In 2016 six UCR graduate students won the prestigious fellowships, and 11 in 2015.

The National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship Program has a long history of selecting recipients who achieve high levels of success in their future academic and professional careers. Fellows benefit from a three-year annual stipend of $34,000 along with a $12,000 cost of education allowance for tuition and fees, opportunities for international research and professional development, and the freedom to conduct their own research at any accredited U.S. institution of graduate education they choose.

“This award demonstrates the close mentorship that UCR faculty provide to undergraduate researchers. In partnership with Undergraduate Education, faculty help to identify promising students early in their careers and our programing provides resources and guidance to purse these types of national awards,” said Gladis Herrera-Berkowitz, director of Student Success Programs in the Office of Undergraduate Education.

Gladis Herrera-Berkowitz

The team approach is a support structure that helps students as they apply for these competitive awards, which provide a great learning experience regardless of the outcome, Herrera-Berkowitz said.

This year’s NSF GRFP recipients represent 11 students who earned their baccalaureate degree at UCR, and three students who are current graduate students here.

“Additionally, I am proud that of the undergraduate recipients, three are UCR Chancellor’s Research Fellows (CRF): Elma Frias (CRF 15/16), Travis Wrightsman (CRF 16/17) and Zizhong Xiao (CRF 16/17),” Herrera-Berkowitz said.

Also, Travis Wrightsman and Joselyn Soto, have been selected for Fulbright Research Awards to Germany. Wrightsman plans to pursue his graduate education in the Plant Breeding and Genetics Program at Cornell University, and Soto will pursue a Ph.D. in Neuroscience at UCLA.

2017 list of NSF GRFs:

  • Allen, Sarah: material science and engineering
  • Bello, Mariel Seanne Mercado: psychology – social psychology
  • Carranza, Francisco G.: life sciences – molecular biology
  • Dugger, Thomas: engineering – materials engineering
  • Frias, Elma Stephanie: life sciences – neurosciences
  • Fuentes-Garcia, Melina: physics and astronomy – atomic, molecular and optical physics
  • Le Piane, Krista Louise: life sciences – organismal biology
  • Nuno, Michelle: mathematical sciences – biostatistics
  • Palos, Kyle: life sciences – genetics
  • Soto, Joselyn S.: life sciences – neurosciences
  • Stokes, Peter: life sciences- plant biology
  • Vasquez, Krystal: geosciences – atmospheric chemistry
  • Wrightsman, Travis: life sciences – bioinformatics and computational biology
  • Xiao, Zizhong: psychology – social psychology

Read the National Science Foundation press release.

Media Contact


Tel: (951) 827-6050
E-mail: iqbal@ucr.edu
Twitter: UCR_Sciencenews

Archived under: Inside UCR,

Top of Page