A current Hope College student and two recent graduates have received recognition through the prestigious Graduate Research Fellowship Program of the National Science Foundation (NSF) this year.
Senior Josephine Surel and 2020 graduate Ethan Heyboer have received fellowships. Eleda Plouch, a 2020 graduate, has received honorable mention.
Hope students or graduates have received fellowships or honorable mention through the program every year for more than a quarter century. The NSF awarded 2,193 of the fellowships nationwide this year, and recognized another 1,377 applicants with honorable mention. The awards are for graduate students pursuing a research-based master’s or doctoral degree in a STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) field. The fellowships provide the recipient with a three-year annual stipend of $34,000, along with a $12,000 cost-of-education allowance for tuition and fees.
Surel, who is from Chelsea, is majoring in engineering with a concentration in chemical engineering, and minoring in chemistry and mathematics. She will pursue a Ph.D. in physics at the University of Oxford in England beginning this coming fall, and ultimately hopes to work in a national laboratory working on developing photovoltaic technology.
She was honored by the college as a Clare Boothe Luce Research Scholar in 2019, and has participated in collaborative student-faculty research during the summer and school year since the summer of 2019. She worked initially with Dr. Michael Misovich, associate professor of engineering, on computational modelling of fluid properties. Since the summer of 2020 she has been working with Dr. Jeffrey Christians, assistant professor of engineering, on research focusing on developing stable halide perovskite materials for eventual use in color-changing solar windows.
Surel spent the spring 2020 semester studying overseas through the Creation Care: New Zealand Program, and attended Hope’s 2021 May Term in the Adirondacks that concerns ecological theology and ethics. Her co-curricular activities have included Women in Science and Engineering, including as a member of the executive board; tutoring physics; and serving as a help-session leader in mathematics and engineering, and as a grader/teaching assistant in chemistry and engineering. She is a 2018 graduate of Chelsea High School.
Heyboer and Plouch are each pursuing a Ph.D. in chemistry at Emory University in Atlanta, Georgia. They are both research in the laboratory for organometallic catalysis and organic synthesis of Dr. Simon B. Blakey, professor of chemistry and director of graduate studies.