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Engineering students, alumnus awarded for academic excellence with research fellowships

Elisabeth Weems | Apr 30, 2018
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Engineering students, alumnus awarded for academic excellence with research fellowships

Elisabeth Weems | Apr 30, 2018

Two Russ College students and one alumnus received prestigious fellowships – two received National Science Foundation (NSF) Graduate Research Fellowships, and one was awarded an Ohio University Named Graduate Fellowship.

Josh Greenlee BSCHE ’17, and Bert Neyhouse, a senior chemical engineering major, both received NSF Graduate Research Fellowships (GRFP). Nationally competitive awards awarded to only 2,000 students from more than 12,000 applications nationwide, the fellowships recognize students pursuing STEM graduate degrees. Awardees receive three years of financial support – $34,000 annual stipend and $12,000 education allowance – within a five-year fellowship period.

Valerie Young, department chair of chemical and biomolecular engineering, said the prestigious GRFP will provide Greenlee and Neyhouse an element of independence in their Ph.D. projects.

“Both Bert and Josh took every opportunity to get involved during their time at OHIO – multiple research projects, design competitions, student organizations,” Young said. “It’s a well-deserved honor for the work that they have put in, and I look forward to seeing what they accomplish next.”

Greenlee, a Ph.D. biomedical engineering candidate at Vanderbilt University, was part of OHIO’s Appalachian Cohort for Engineering Scholarship program and received honorable mention for the fellowship last year. His research interests are in cancer immunotherapy and drug delivery, and he aims to create a biotech startup focused in immuno-oncology.

“The faculty in the Russ College encouraged me to pursue activities such as industrial internships and national design competitions, which gave me a brand new perspective and memories that I will forever cherish,” Greenlee said. “My time at the Russ College gave me the courage to never sell myself short, and to constantly pursue my dreams regardless of the impending obstacles.”

Neyhouse, who will pursue a Ph.D. in chemical engineering at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology after he graduates in May, has performed undergraduate research at the Center for Electrochemical Engineering Research and the Institute for Corrosion and Multiphase Technology, and in chemistry and biochemistry. He has served as president of professional engineering fraternity Theta Tau and the Electrochemical Society Student Chapter, captained the Chem-E-Car team, and participated in the Robe Leadership Program and the Ohio University Eco-Challenge project.

“Receiving this fellowship is an incredible honor that culminated all of the work I’ve done over the past four years, and I believe it will be a catalyst that will help drive my future academic career,” Neyhouse said. “I’m not sure I could have accomplished it without the immense amount of support and opportunities within the Russ College – the countless research opportunities for undergraduates has allowed me to explore a variety of research areas and find something I’m passionate about, and the faculty and staff are always willing to help.”

Chemical engineering doctoral candidate Xueying Ko is one of five OHIO graduate students selected for a 2018-2019 Named Fellowship – the Graduate College Fellowship – and awarded $15,000 plus a full tuition scholarship.

Ko’s nomination was based on her project proposal “Molecular Simulations to Study Adsorption and Self-assembly of Corrosion Inhibitors on Metal-Water Interfaces.” Sumit Sharma, assistant professor of chemical and biomolecular engineering, said Ko joined his molecular simulations research group, and although she was new to the area, she excelled, giving multiple conference presentations and publishing a paper as first author in a reputed peer-reviewed international scientific journal.

“Because of her dedication, hard work and consistency, she deserves to be recognized by this fellowship,” Sharma said. “I hope this recognition to Xueying also encourages other students, especially from under-represented sections, to take up research in STEM fields.”

For Ko, research and problem solving are a catalyst for connection, enabling her to share findings and encourage younger generations to pursue STEM careers.

“I believe, as engineers, we must use our knowledge to solve real life problems and make the world a better place,” Ko said. “One thing I have learned is that awards and incentives keep you going strong for a day, but passion helps you to persevere.”

Colleen Carow and Anna Hartenbach contributed to this story.