posted April 8, 2010

Students and Recent Graduates Receive NSF Fellowship Honors

Four Hope College graduating seniors or recent graduates have received prestigious Graduate Research Fellowships from the National Science Foundation (NSF).

Another two recent graduates received honorable mention through the program.  It is the second year in a row that six graduating seniors or recent alumni have received either fellowships or honorable mention.

Named fellowship recipients this year were two current seniors --Amy Speelman of Darien, Ill., and Blair Williams of Fenton -- and two alumni: Jamin Dreyer, a 2006 graduate from Holland; and David Gonthier, a 2007 graduate from Holland.

Receiving honorable mention were two alumni:  Jonathan Moerdyk, a 2009 graduate from Paris, and Joseph Stodola, a 2009 graduate from Jenison.

Dreyer and Moerdyk had also received honorable mention from the program in 2009.

Dr. Moses Lee, who is dean for the natural and applied sciences, and professor of chemistry, stated, "We are very proud of these students and our faculty. The fellowships are helping us move closer to realizing the college's vision 20/20 plan, which has a goal of raising academic excellence to an uncharted higher level."

Nationwide this year, the NSF awarded approximately 2,000 fellowships and recognized another 2,025 applicants with honorable mention.

The awards are for students in the early stage of pursuing a research-based master's or doctoral degree in NSF-supported science, technology, engineering and mathematics disciplines.  The fellowships are for up to three years, and pay a $30,000 annual stipend, a $10,500 cost-of-education allowance and a $1,000 one-time international travel allowance.

* Amy Speelman, a chemistry and French major, will pursue graduate studies at the University of Michigan at Ann Arbor.  She has conducted research with Dr. Jason Gillmore and Dr. Brent Krueger, both of the chemistry faculty.  In 2008, she received one of only 321 scholarships awarded nationwide by the Board of Trustees of the Barry M. Goldwater Scholarship and Excellence in Education Foundation to undergraduate sophomores and juniors, and earlier this year she was one of only 44 students around the world presented a 2010 Student Travel Award by the Biophysical Society for the organization's annual meeting, held in February.  She is the daughter of David and Linda Speelman of Darien, and a 2005 graduate of Timothy Christian High School.

* Blair Williams, a mechanical engineering major, will pursue graduate studies at either Stanford University or the University of Michigan at Ann Arbor.  He has conducted research with both Dr. Tim Pennings of the mathematics faculty and Dr. Miguel Abrahantes of the engineering faculty.  In 2009 he received one of only 278 scholarships awarded nationwide by the Board of Trustees of the Barry M. Goldwater Scholarship and Excellence in Education Foundation to undergraduate sophomores and juniors.  He is the son of Darlene Williams of Fenton and Robert Williams of Belleville, and is a 2006 graduate of Flint Powers Catholic High School.

* Jamin Dreyer, a biology education major, is pursuing graduate studies at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

* David Gonthier, a biology major, is pursuing graduate studies at the University of Toledo.

* Jonathan Moerdyk, a chemistry major who had also received a Goldwater Scholarship in 2008, is pursuing graduate studies at the University of Texas at Austin.

* Joseph Stodola, who double-majored in chemistry with a biochemistry emphasis and music, is pursuing graduate studies at Washington University in St. Louis, Mo.