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NSF Press Release


NSF PR 99-26 - April 16, 1999

Media contact:

 Lee Herring

 (703) 292-8070

Program contact:

 Susan Duby

 (703) 306-1630

This material is available primarily for archival purposes. Telephone numbers or other contact information may be out of date; please see current contact information at media contacts.

Graduate Students Awarded Research Fellowships

The National Science Foundation (NSF) has announced the awarding of 900 three-year Graduate Research Fellowships to outstanding college and university students as part of NSF's effort to help ensure the vitality and excellence of the U.S. human resource base in science, mathematics and engineering. The fellowships offer support for graduate study in all scientific disciplines.

Luther S. Williams, NSF Assistant Director for Education and Human Resources, praised the significant contributions that Graduate Fellows have made in research, teaching and industry over the 48-year history of the program. "This diverse group of fellows represents the spirit and vitality required in science and engineering to continue the economic vigor and technological strength essential to the nation as we move toward the new millennium," said Williams.

The Graduate Fellowship program is one of NSF's oldest programs, with roots in NSF's original 1950 charter. "Fellows are promising young mathematicians, scientists and engineers, with the accompanying expectation that the lifelong careers of Fellowship recipients will be marked by significant contributions to research, teaching and industrial applications in science, mathematics and/or engineering," said NSF graduate education division director Susan Duby. "Fellows also are distinguished by the high rate of completion of their Ph.D.s, the high quality of their employing departments, attainment of postdoctoral appointments and research grants, and receipt of prestigious awards and honors. Eighteen former Fellows have won Nobel Prizes," she said. And, as the career options of the typical Ph.D. increasingly include non-academic settings, "NSF recognizes the importance of the contributions of science and engineering Ph.D.s in work and research outside traditional academic settings," Duby explained.

In 1998, the last year of the Minority Graduate Research Fellowship competition, 134 minority students received awards in the separate competition, and 41 (5.4 percent) received awards in the general competition. Among the 1999 awardees, 76 (8.4 percent) are members of minority groups traditionally underrepresented in the sciences, mathematics, engineering and technology fields. In 1999, NSF conducted this single competition for Graduate Research Fellowships, to replace emphasis on selection with emphasis on recruitment and development, toward increased participation of women and underrepresented minorities in advanced careers in the sciences, mathematics and engineering.

"While in the short term the new emphasis may yield a smaller percentage of minority participation than does a separate competition, NSF believes that a comparable rate will be attained as we gain experience with the new emphasis, and that the long-term benefits will be more durable," said Duby.

Included in the fellowships, which begin during the 1999/2000 academic year, were 70 awards for women in engineering and 10 for women in computer and information science. (Women won 48.8 percent of the awards overall). Awardees come from all 50 states, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico. The awardees received their baccalaureate degrees from 238 colleges and universities.

The fellowships provide a stipend of $15,000 per year for fulltime graduate study. NSF also provides to the awardee's school an annual cost-of-education allowance of $10,500 in lieu of all tuition and required fees at U.S. institutions. NSF Graduate Fellows may attend any appropriate non-profit U.S. or foreign institution of higher education. The three years of support may be used within a five-year window, during which time students may suspend receipt of their fellowship stipend in order to incorporate teaching or work experience into their graduate education.

NSF also designated 995 individuals to receive honorable mention in this annual Graduate Fellowship competition. Those students plus the 900 awardees are eligible to use supercomputer resources provided by the NSF-sponsored Partnership for Advanced Computational Infrastructure.


Editors: The list of 1999/2000 Graduate Research Fellows is available on the web at: The list of those receiving honorable mention is on the web at:



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