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Clarkson University Undergraduate Named Prestigious NSF Fellow

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A Clarkson University undergraduate has received a National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship and three recent graduates have received honorable mentions.

Maria C. LangMaria C. Lang, a senior mechanical engineering major from El Paso, Texas, received the fellowship. She is a member of Clarkson’s Honors Program and a Ronald E. McNair Scholar.

Honorable mentions went to three Clarkson graduates now studying for their doctoral degrees: Andrew D. Davis ’10, a mahematics Honors Program graduate now studying at Massachusetts Institute of Technology; Eleanor L. Davis ’10, an applied mathematics and statistics Honors Program graduate now at University of Texas at Austin; and Farshad Madhi ’09, a mechanical engineering McNair Program graduate now at University of California-Berkeley.

This is the fourth consecutive year a Clarkson undergraduate has received an NSF Fellowship for a total of six fellowships over the same period. Although the fellowships are awarded to both undergraduate and graduate students, they typically go to students already into their graduate work.

NSF Graduate Research Fellowships are the most prestigious awards available to students beginning their graduate studies in engineering and the sciences. The ranks of NSF Fellows include individuals who have made transformative breakthroughs in research and have become leaders in their chosen careers, including several Nobel Laureates.

Lang entered Clarkson as one of the first cohort of the S-STEM program funded by NSF in 2007. She was admitted into the Honors Program after her freshman year due to her outstanding performance.

Lang was inspired by late astronaut McNair and a former McNair scholar to dream of becoming an astronaut. She participated in the NASA Academy in 2010, working in the propulsion branch at Goddard Space Flight Center with Rich Luquette and Paul Mason.

Her honors thesis is on the computational fluid dynamics of nano-aerosols, supervised by Prof. Suresh Dhaniyala. After graduation, Lang will pursue her Ph.D. in aerospace engineering at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, where she will investigate electric propulsion/plasma dynamics with Prof. Iain Boyd. She is also a recipient of the Rackham Merit Fellowship there at the Rackham Graduate School.

“Maria has been an outstanding scholar and role model for her fellow McNair Scholars,” said Tammy McGregor-Twiss, assistant director of Clarkson’s McNair Program. “Her strong work ethic, drive and passion have led her to aspire, advance and achieve at every step of her undergraduate career. From obtaining two McNair research opportunities at NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, to participation in numerous professional conferences, tutoring and honors research, Maria is very deserving of this fellowship.”

“Maria exemplifies the all-around excellence of an Honors student,” said Jon D. Goss, director of Clarkson’s Honors Program. “Not only is she a brilliant student doing cutting-edge research, but she also tutors math and physics at Clarkson, and is extensively involved in outreach to promote sciences and engineering in K-12 education in the region. On top of that, she is an accomplished pianist and she imagines the prospect of playing in the first piano quartet in space when she succeeds in becoming an astronaut.” 

The National Science Foundation's Graduate Research Fellowship Program is intended to help ensure the vitality of the human resource base of science and engineering in the United States. It provides three years of support for graduate study leading to research-based master's or doctoral degrees.

Clarkson's Honors Program is an intensive four-year curriculum for exceptionally talented students. The University admits only 30 new students to the Honors Program each year.

As one of the eight federally funded TRIO programs of the U.S. Department of Education, the Ronald E. McNair Post-Baccalaureate Achievement Program prepares first generation & low-income and/or underrepresented students for doctoral studies. The McNair program hosted at Clarkson University is one of 200 across the United States.

Clarkson University launches leaders into the global economy. One in six alumni already leads as a CEO, VP or equivalent senior executive of a company. Located just outside the Adirondack Park in Potsdam, N.Y., Clarkson is a nationally recognized research university for undergraduates with select graduate programs in signature areas of academic excellence directed toward the world's pressing issues. Through 50 rigorous programs of study in engineering, business, arts, sciences and health sciences, the entire learning-living community spans boundaries across disciplines, nations and cultures to build powers of observation, challenge the status quo, and connect discovery and engineering innovation with enterprise.

Photo caption: Clarkson University undergraduate Maria Lang has received a National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship. This is the fourth consecutive year a Clarkson undergraduate has received an NSF Fellowship.

[News directors and editors: For more information, contact Annie Harrison, Director of Media Relations, at 315-268-6764 or]

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