A total of five Hope College graduating seniors or recent graduates have received prestigious Graduate Research Fellowships from the National Science Foundation (NSF).
The recipients are senior Valerie Winton of Lake Bluff, Ill.; 2010 graduate Shirley Bradley; 2009 graduate Ryan Davis; 2009 graduate Jacob Dickinson; and 2010 graduate Christopher Ploch.
It is the third year in a row that five or more graduating seniors or recent alumni have received fellowships or honorable mention in the program, with three or more receiving fellowships during each of the three years. The NSF awarded approximately 2,000 of the fellowships nationwide this year.
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 and a $10,500 cost-of-education allowance.
° Valerie Winton is a chemistry major who plans to pursue a doctorate in organic chemistry at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Her career goal is to continue conducting research in chemistry, in either an academic or industrial setting.
Since the summer after her freshman year at Hope, she has been conducting collaborative research with Dr. Jeffrey Johnson, who is an assistant professor of chemistry and Towsley Research Scholar at Hope. She has made a variety of presentations regarding their work, including during the poster sessions of the National Organic Symposium in 2009, and the American Chemical Society National Meeting in spring 2010 and 2011. Winton also conducted research with Prof. F. Dean Toste at UC-Berkeley during the summer of 2010 through the Amgen Scholars program.
In the spring of 2010, she was one of three Hope students to receive honorable mention recognition from the Barry M. Goldwater Scholarship and Excellence in Education Foundation. Honors from Hope have included receiving a Dean's Science Division Research Award for summer research in 2009, the Junior Chemistry Journal Award, and induction into the Mortar Board honorary society in 2010 and Phi Beta Kappa honorary society in 2011. She is also one of four Hope students selected, one from each of the college's academic divisions, to speak about their research experiences on Thursday, April 14, during a panel presentation in conjunction with the college's celebration of national Undergraduate Research Week.
Winton's other activities at the college have included Engineers Without Borders, the student-organized Dance Marathon fund-raiser on behalf of Helen DeVos Children's Hospital, and the Habitat for Humanity Club. She is also currently serving as the president of Hope's Chemistry Club. She is the daughter of Richard and Eva Winton of Lake Bluff, and a 2007 graduate of Lake Forest High School.
° Shirley Bradley graduated from Hope with majors in biology and chemistry. While at Hope, she conducted collaborative research with Dr. Maria Burnatowska-Hledin, who is the Frederich Garrett and Helen Floor Dekker Professor of Biology and Chemistry. She is pursuing graduate study in biochemistry and molecular biology at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn.
° Ryan Davis graduated from Hope with a biology major. While at Hope, he conducted collaborative research with Dr. Moses Lee, who is dean for the natural and applied sciences and a professor of chemistry. He is pursuing graduate study in cell biology at the University of Washington in Seattle.
° Jacob Dickinson graduated from Hope with an engineering major with an emphasis in chemical engineering. While at Hope, he conducted collaborative research with Dr. Michael Misovich, associate professor of engineering, and at Michigan State University. He is pursuing graduate study in chemical engineering at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor.
° Christopher Ploch graduated from Hope with an engineering major with an emphasis in mechanical engineering. While at Hope, he conducted collaborative research with Dr. Stephen Remillard, assistant professor of physics. He is pursuing graduate study in mechanical engineering at Stanford University in Palo Alto, Calif.