Five Bryn Mawr Undergraduate Science Majors Receive NSF Graduate Fellowships

Posted May 12th, 2011 at 4:00 pm.

Bryn Mawr’s tradition of fostering women’s advanced study in the sciences is particularly evident this spring, as three graduating seniors and two undergraduate alumnae accept prestigious grants from the National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship Program.

The program, which “recognizes and supports outstanding graduate students in NSF-supported science, technology, engineering, and mathematics disciplines who are pursuing research-based master’s and doctoral degrees at accredited US institutions,” is the nation’s oldest fellowship of its kind. It boasts “a long history of selecting recipients who achieve high levels of success in their future academic and professional careers.”

Fellows receive three years of support from the foundation, including a $30,000 annual stipend, $10,500 cost-of-education allowance, and many international research and professional opportunities. This year’s Bryn Mawr grantees:

baerKerstin Baer ’11 plans to pursue a Ph.D. in mathematics at Stanford University beginning next year. Her primary area of interest is topology, which focuses on the spatial properties of objects when they are stretched, twisted, or bent. Baer, who helped the College’s undergraduate math club establish ties with undergraduate math majors at other Philadelphia-area institutions, says Bryn Mawr math department’s strong sense of community was a key factor in her success. More about Baer »

rebuhn-glanzRebecca Rebhuhn-Glanz ’11 plans to pursue a Ph.D. in mathematics at the University of Michican beginning next year, with a focus on either algebra or number theory. Rebhuhn-Glanz is graduating this spring with a joint A.B./M.A. degree in mathematics, and she cites her graduate coursework as a distinct advantage in competing for the NSF award and enabling her to get an early start on Ph.D. research. More about Rebhuhn-Glanz »

photo of Evan SchneiderEvan Schneider ’10, now a graduate student in astrophysics at the University of Arizona, plans research into an improved method for detecting black holes that serve as the nuclei of galaxies. Schneider, who counts herself lucky to have had excellent early training in math and science, is enthusiastic about attracting others to the natural sciences, and part of her interest in astrophysics is the subject’s broad appeal. More about Schneider »

tolfreeKaty Tolfree ’99 is pursuing a Ph.D. in astrophysics at the Johns Hopkins University. Her research focuses on the evolution of spiral galaxies. Tolfree first majored in classical and Near Eastern Archaeology at Bryn Mawr, but realized during her senior year that she had a long-submerged fascination with astrophysics. She returned to complete a major in physics before heading to graduate school to study the stars. More about Tolfree »

photo of Samantha WoodSamantha Wood, who was the recipient of a Barry M. Goldwater Scholarship last year, plans to pursue a Ph.D. in computer science at the University of California, San Diego. Wood’s research proposal deals with improving the efficiency of sparse-matrix computations, which are used in computer applications ranging from scientific simulations of fluid dynamics to commercial search engines. She is enthusiastic not only about her research plans, but about the opportunity to serve as a mentor to other aspiring computer scientists. More about Wood »

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