CSU students receive prestigious NSF Graduate Research Fellowships

2023 NSF CSU Students

Fifteen Colorado State University students were recently recognized by the National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship Program, one of the country’s top STEM fellowship programs.

Eight CSU students received graduate research fellowships from the NSF Graduate Research Fellowship Program, and seven garnered honorable mentions. The prestigious program recognizes and supports high-performing students who are pursuing research-based master’s and doctoral degrees in areas such as science, technology, engineering and mathematics.

CSU students who received fellowships in 2023 include Elizabeth Diaz-Clark, Abigail Fennell, Angelie Teresa Nieves Jiménez, Brandon Lowry, Rachel Masters, Laura Moore, EmmaKate Raisley and Kiyoshi Yamamoto.

The five-year fellowship includes three years of financial support, including an annual stipend of $37,000 and a cost-of-education allowance of $12,000 to the institution. Since 2016, the NSF has awarded 52 Graduate Research Fellowships to CSU students.

The CSU Graduate School, the Office for Scholarship and Fellowship Advising and the Office for Undergraduate Research and Artistry played a key role in the process.

“We are very proud of the eight students who received the NSF-GRFP this year,” said Mary Swanson, program director of the Office for Scholarship and Fellowship Advising. “It is a reflection of their hard work as well as the excellent mentorship and instruction they receive from faculty at CSU.”

NSF Graduate Research Fellows

Elizabeth Diaz Clark

Elizabeth Diaz-Clark is part of the Graduate Degree Program in Ecology in which she works in the Department of Biology’s Balgopal Lab. Diaz-Clark’s interests center at the intersection of science education and science communication, where she is focused on understanding how people’s worldview and other ways of knowing influence their interpretation of climate change media images. She said she hopes to one day join a public agency or nonprofit to develop culturally sensitive and inclusive science curricula and communications.

Abigail Fennell

Abigail Fennell is an undergraduate student in the Biomedical Engineering and Chemical and Biological Engineering Dual Degree Program. Her research interests involve engineering immune cells to create more effective therapeutics in disease treatment. After graduation, she plans to attend Johns Hopkins University to pursue a Ph.D. in biomedical engineering. Fennel received an Astronaut Scholarship in 2022.

Brandon Lowry

Brandon Lowry is a graduate student in the Department of Biomedical Sciences. Working in the Clapp Lab, Lowry’s research interests involve data visualization and effective technology implementation using virtual reality. He is part of a team currently developing VR software and testing the implementation and assessment for anatomical and medical sciences education. Lowry plans to pursue a career in academia as a professor and educational researcher within the domain of medical science education.

Angelie Teresa Nieves Jiménez

Angelie Teresa Nieves Jiménez is a graduate student in the Department of Atmospheric Science, with research interests involving tropical cyclone rapid intensification dynamics and associated rainfall. After graduation, she plans to return to her home island of Puerto Rico to give back to the community and work to provide reassurance and serve as a guide when a natural hazard is imminent.

Rachel Masters

Rachel Masters is an undergraduate student in the Department of Computer Science, with a minor in business and certificate in entrepreneurship. Her research involves how virtual reality can be used to alter mental states in ways that reduce stress, restore mental resources, aid in mental illness recovery and management processes and improve learning. When she graduates, she will continue her research at CSU with Assistant Professor Francisco Ortega in the Natural User Interaction Lab as a graduate student. Masters received a Goldwater Scholarship in 2022

Laura Moore

Laura Moore is a 2022 CSU graduate with a bachelor’s degree in soil and crop sciences. This fall, she will return to the Soil and Crop Sciences Department for graduate school. Moore’s research interests involve trying to better understand how microbes are influencing carbon sequestration in regenerative grazing systems. She hopes to work as a soil carbon scientist for a private organization where she can utilize science and technology to combat climate change in agriculture.


EmmaKate Raisley is part of the Biomedical Engineering and Chemical and Biological Engineering Dual Degree Program. Her research interests involve therapeutics for neurodegenerative diseases. Having watched her grandmother’s battle with Alzheimer’s disease, she said she was drawn to engineering because of how it positively impacts the lives of others. Following graduation, she plans to attend Rice University for a Ph.D. in bioengineering.

Kiyoshi Yamamoto

Kiyoshi Yamamoto is a graduate student in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering. His research focus is high-power lasers and high-energy density physics. As part of this, Yamamoto is working with University Distinguished Professor Jorge Rocca on constructing a new high-power laser designed to generate some of the shortest light pulses available. Following graduation, he plans to pursue a Ph.D. in a similar research field.

NSF Graduate Research Honorable Mentions

Seven CSU students received Honorable Mentions from the National Science Foundation. This significant national academic achievement provides access to XSEDE, a cyber portal that scientists can use to interactively share computing resources, data and expertise.

  • Seth Antozzi, Department of Mechanical Engineering.
  • Aidan Lewis, Cell and Molecular Biology Graduate Program.
  • Cianna Piercey, Department of Psychology.
  • Kelley Sinning, Department of Fish, Wildlife, and Conservation Biology.
  • Amanda Spitzer, Department of Psychology.
  • Jacob VanderRoest, Department of Chemistry.
  • Anna Wolff, Department of Chemistry.

NSF Graduate Research Fellowship Program

As the oldest graduate fellowship of its kind, NSF Graduate Research Fellowship Program was developed to promote diversity in science and engineering in the United States. Since 1952, the NSF has funded more than 50,000 Graduate Research Fellowships, with 42 fellows going on to become Nobel laureates and more than 450 becoming members of the National Academy of Sciences.

Students interested in applying for the NSF Graduate Research Fellowship Program should contact Mary Swanson, program director of the Office for Scholarship and Fellowship Advising, at mary.swanson@colostate.edu.