Skip to main content

SFAz harnesses brain power for state

August 21, 2008

Science Foundation Arizona (SFAz) has awarded forty Graduate Research Fellowships (GRFs) totaling $3.5 million to top science and engineering graduate students at Arizona State University. This is the second year SFAz is funding the GRF Program, the largest of its kind in the United States, to provide a pipeline of talented research fellows with the potential to become Arizona innovation leaders and advance the competitive research capacity of the state in information and communications technology, sustainable systems and biomedical research.

SFAz Graduate Research Fellowships are awarded for up to two consecutive years to outstanding local and international graduate students in science, engineering and biomedical research and contribute to the state’s growing knowledge-based sectors. Candidates are nominated by the academic institutions. SFAz fellowships cover research costs, expenses and full tuition up to $40,000 annually.

One hundred new fellowships totaling $8.8 million were awarded to three Arizona universities including ASU, Northern Arizona University and University of Arizona. These investments challenge the universities to set quality standards for their graduate research institutions and to transform competent programs into globally innovative models.

“The Science Foundation Arizona fellowships have allowed ASU, and our other sister institutions in Arizona, to competenationally and globally for the brightest and best Ph.D. students in thes ciences and engineering,” says Maria Allison, ASU Vice Provost and Dean of the Graduate College. “The forward-thinking leaders who have helped build this program for Arizona understand the critical role that graduate students play in building the research engines that power tomorrow’s industry and economy.”“In the 21st Century, it is all about brain power,” says William Harris, president and CEO of Science Foundation Arizona. “Now, with a total of 180 first and second year Graduate Fellows, SFAz has the largest non-federally funded graduate research fellowship program in the United States focusing on science and engineering. That is a brain power pipeline that creates excellence for our universities and ensures our state’s future competitiveness.”

Some of the research conducted by first year GRF students includes:

• Better physical therapy for stroke survivors is a goal for Jeffrey Boyd, a doctoral student in Computer Science and Engineering who works in the Arts Media and Engineering (AME) Biofeedback lab. He has a fellowship from the National Science Foundation (NSF) and a technology grant from Intel Research forportable sensing devices.

• Celeste Riley, pursuing a Ph.D. in Bioengineering, combines physics, medicine, chemistry and other disciplines in her search for better clinical treatments for aneurysms.

• Four SFAz fellows at ASU’s Biodesign Institute are working on "Tubes in the Desert," an initiative to develop a renewable form of biofuel using photosyntheticmicroorganisms called cyanobacteria. The technology promises a much greater yield than corn or other plant-based approaches.

• Mark Reese, a doctoral student in electrical engineering, is working with ASU’s Advanced Helicopter Electromagnetics (AHE) program to improve design of antennas on airborne communication, search and rescue vehicles, primarily helicopters.

ASU’s forty SFAz Graduate Research Fellows for 2008-2009 are:

• Nohea Arkus, Biological Design

• Michael Bell, Physics

• Justin Brown, Biomedical Informatics

• Rita Chattopadhyay, Computing and Informatics

• Jessica Corman, School of Life Sciences/Biology

• Ann Dallman, Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering

• Colby Dawson, Physics

• Michael DiNezza, Electrical Engineering

• Kyle Doudrick, Civil and Environmental Engineering

• Yunus Emre, Electrical Engineering

• Aaron Hansen, Physics

• Erica Hartmann, Biological Design

• Stephen Herman, Electrical Engineering

• Robert Matthew Horner, Sustainability

• Berkay Kanberoglu, Electrical Engineering

• Alper Karul, Chemical Engineering

• Nicole Lehrer, Bioengineering /Arts, Media and Engineering

• Jeffrey Liao, School of Life Sciences /Microbiology

• Charla Lindle, Bioengineering

• Ziyang Liu, Computer Science and Engineering

•• Nathan Marine, Mechanical and AerospaceEngineering

• John Carter McKnight, Human and Social Dimensions of Science and Technology

• Robert John Meyers, Sustainability

• Derek Overstreet, Bioengineering

• Carlos Perez, Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering

• Cynthia Pierce, Bioengineering

• Stephen Romaniello, School of Earth and Space Exploration

• Fariya Sharif, Civil and Environmental Engineering

• Benjamin Sherman, Chemistry and Biochemistry

• Kartik Talamadupula, Computer Science and Engineering

• Catherine Vuong, Bioengineering /Arts, Media and Engineering

• Evelyn Walters, Civil and Environmental Engineering

• Jun Wang, Civil and Environmental Engineering

• Wei Wang, Chemistry and Biochemistry

• John Westerdale, Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering

• Mark Witt, Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering

• Josh Wray, School of Life Sciences

• Karl Wyant, School of Life Sciences /Biology

• Fengze Xie, Computer Science and Engineering

• Zhao Zhao, Chemistry and Biochemistry

For more information, visit