Graduate Research Fellowship Program

The National Science Foundation (NSF) Graduate Research Fellowship Program (GRFP) provides three years of financial support for graduate study.  It aims to keep the nation a global leader in advancing science and engineering research and innovation.  Recipients receive a $34,000 annual stipend and $12,000 education allowance from NSF, plus the UW–Madison Graduate School contributes toward fringe benefits.

“The NSF-Graduate Research Fellows Program is a highly competitive award that draws from student talent across the nation,” states Graduate School Dean William J. Karpus.  “The program leads to great outcomes.  Awardees not only benefit from the financial support of the fellowship, but also have the long-term benefit of becoming more competitive for future funding and gaining access to opportunities for research collaboration and professional development through NSF programs.”

The fellowship is awarded to individuals in the early stages of their graduate study, who intend to pursue research-based graduate studies in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM). Fellows are free to use their fellowship at any university, college, or non-profit academic institution of higher education accredited in, and having a campus located in, the United States, its territories, or possessions, or the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico that grants a graduate degree in STEM fields.

Fellowship benefits

  • Five year fellowship period with three years of full funding, including tuition, fees, and health insurance benefits
  • Annual stipend of $34,000
  • Cost of Education allowance of $12,000 to the institution
  • Professional development opportunities (GRIP and GROW)
  • XSEDE supercomputer access for Fellows and honorable mentions
  • No service requirement
  • Access to supplemental funding to sustain research while on medical deferral (e.g. maternity/paternity leave)

Eligibility requirements

  • U.S. citizen or permanent resident
  • No more than one completed year of graduate studies
  • Enrollment in research-focused STEM or STEM-education program

Read more about this competitive fellowship at the NSF website.

For Applicants

The NSF Graduate Research Fellowship Program (GRFP) is one of the oldest and most prestigious fellowships in the country. The University of Wisconsin–Madison is proud to be a leading university in GRFP recipients and strongly encourages senior undergraduates, and early-career graduate students to apply to this fellowship. The GRFP is fundamentally an investment in graduate students as future researchers, not in a specific research project.

In fall 2020, the Graduate School offered four workshops for GRFP applicants. Links to workshop recordings and materials can be found below.

Application materials

  • Personal information
  • CV
  • Transcripts
  • Proposed field of study
  • Graduate school information
  • 2-3 letters of reference
  • Personal, relevant background and future goals (3 pages maximum)
  • Graduate research plan statement (2 pages maximum including figures and citations)

Key criteria to address in both written sections and letters of reference

  • The broader impacts of your work as a researcher, or the potential of your research to improve social outcomes
  • Your intellectual merit as a researcher, or potential to advance knowledge in your field

2020 workshop materials and recordings

Informational session and student panel recording (Password: hFXxmnZ5)
Download the slides from the informational session (PowerPoint)

Broader Impacts workshop materials and recording (NetID login to Google required)
Cosponsored by the Graduate School Office of Diversity, Inclusion, and Funding, the Delta Program, WISCIENCE, and the Discovery Building’s public engagement with science programs supported by the Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation, Morgridge Institute for Research, and the Wisconsin Institute for Discovery

Faculty review panels

Peer review guide (NetID login to Google required)

If you have questions about the GRFP or would like support with your application, please contact the Graduate School’s Fellowships Officer, Nathaniel Haack, at offr@grad.wisc.edu or 608-265-5522.

The Writing Center is also available as a resource for applicants.

Past Awardees

Thirty-one continuing and incoming UW–Madison students were awarded graduate research fellowship in 2021. Another 35 continuing students received honorable mentions from reviewers.

The 2021 UW–Madison awardees and their program of study are:

  • Aldo Arellano, Microbiology
  • Nina Bonde, Biochemistry
  • Emma Brann, Physics
  • Kyle Chin, Chemical Engineering
  • Emily Eix, Microbiology
  • Amy Enright, Microbiology
  • Tabitha Faber, Botany
  • Abigail Ferris, Engineering Physics
  • Kaitlyn Gruber, Chemistry
  • Riley Hale, Civil and Environmental Engineering
  • Ashley Hiebing, Biomedical Engineering
  • Dionel Jaime, Mathematics
  • Dean Jarois, Chemistry
  • Lisa Je, Chemical Engineering
  • Edgard Lebron Rodriguez, Chemical Engineering
  • Cassandra Leech, Cellular and Molecular Biology
  • Christine Lucky, Chemical Engineering
  • Rosanne Luu, Educational Psychology
  • Cody Martin, Microbiology
  • Rachel McClure, Astronomy
  • Tara Mittelberg, Agricultural and Applied Economics
  • Uyen Nguyen, Microbiology
  • Brooke Propson, Soil Sciences
  • Zoe Rechav, Physics
  • Kalina Reese, Molecular and Cellular Pharmacology
  • Ross Soens, Biochemistry
  • Jennifer Stafford, Astronomy
  • Jenna Swenson, Environmental Chemistry and Technology
  • Sofia Taylor, Electrical Engineering
  • AnnaBeth Thomas, Chemistry
  • Helaina Von Bank, Cellular and Molecular Biology

In 2020, 31 students from UW–Madison were awarded the fellowship, with another 35 UW–Madison students  recognized with honorable mentions.

The 2020 UW–Madison awardees are:

  • Ruby Bafu, PhD student, Sociology
  • Jonathon Blank, PhD student, Mechanical Engineering
  • Tianen Chen, PhD student, Electrical Engineering
  • Rachel Czerwinski, PhD student, Chemistry
  • Megan Dixon, PhD student, Microbiology
  • Matthew Genzink, PhD student, Chemistry
  • Kate Griffin, BS ’19, Biomedical Engineering (Current: Research Intern, UW Department of Surgery)
  • Peyton Higgins, PhD student, Chemistry
  • Christine Hustmyer, PhD student, Biochemistry
  • Eric Kohn, PhD student, Chemistry
  • Alexius Lampkin, PhD student, Molecular & Cellular Pharmacology
  • Anne-Sophie Mancha, PhD student, Biomedical Engineering
  • Arvin Raj Mathur, PhD student, Anthropology
  • Sarah McCarthy, PhD student, Physics
  • Kate McGinn, PhD student, Wildlife Ecology
  • Rylie Morris, PhD student, Chemistry
  • Megan Nieszala, PhD student, Chemistry
  • Rahul Parhi, PhD student, Electrical Engineering
  • Aicha Quamine, PhD student, Cellular & Molecular Biology
  • Anika Rice, MS student, Geography
  • Rebecca Roembke, PhD student, Mechanical Engineering
  • Trevor Seets, PhD student, Electrical Engineering
  • Joseph Skarlupka, PhD student, Microbiology
  • Paul Slaughter, Undergraduate student, Mechanical Engineering
  • Madeline Smerchansky, PhD student, Biomedical Engineering
  • Mackinsey Smith, PhD student, Chemistry
  • Laura Stegner, PhD student, Computer Science
  • Isabelle Tigges-Green, BS ’19, Chemistry and Spanish (Current: Faculty Assistant and Chemistry Outreach Specialist, UW Department of Chemistry)
  • Jessica Turner, MS student, Environment and Resources
  • Soleil Young, PhD student, Microbiology
  • Madison Youngblom, PhD student, Microbiology

Of about 12,000 applicants nationally, 2,050 received awards in the 2019 competition, including 40 UW–Madison students. Another 29 UW–Madison students were given honorable mentions.

The 2019 UW–Madison awardees are:

  • Theodore Agbi, PhD student, Chemical Engineering
  • Shaan Amin, PhD student, Political Science
  • Garrett Anstreicher, PhD student, Economics
  • Benjamin Bachman, PhD student, Chemistry
  • Desia Bacon, PhD student, Psychology
  • Connor Blankenship, PhD student, Pharmaceutical Sciences
  • Miriam Bohlmann Kunz, PhD student, Chemistry
  • Katie Bultman, PhD student, Microbiology
  • Joseph Burns, PhD student, Biomedical Engineering
  • Mariama Carter, PhD student, Plant Pathology
  • Aryel Clarke, PhD student, Biochemistry
  • John Crandall, PhD student, Genetics
  • Michael Davies, PhD student, Computer Sciences
  • Rebekah Dix, BA student, Economics
  • Kieran Farrell, PhD student, Chemistry
  • Maia Gumnit, PhD student, Comparative Biomedical Sciences
  • Mackenzie Hewes, PhD student, Anthropology
  • Zena Jensvold, PhD student, Cellular & Molecular Biology
  • Conlain Kelly, BS student, Applied Mathematics, Engineering and Physics
  • Lauren Laufman, BS student, Astronomy – Physics
  • Justin Mabin, PhD student, Cellular & Molecular Biology
  • Audrey Marsh, PhD student, Genetics
  • Bethany McCarty, PhD student, Chemistry
  • Patrick Monari, PhD student, Psychology
  • Zachary Morrow, PhD student, Cellular & Molecular Biology
  • Kathleen Nickson, PhD student, Chemistry
  • Katherine Parrish, PhD student, Chemistry
  • Jennifer Peotter, PhD student, Biochemistry
  • Bella Reichardt, BS student, Biomedical Engineering
  • Daniel Salgueiro, PhD student, Chemistry
  • Dylan Schmitz, PhD student, Mechanical Engineering
  • Katherine Senn, PhD student, Biochemistry
  • Emily Setton, PhD student, Zoology
  • Thomas Shannon, BS student, Environmental Studies and English
  • Trevor Simmons, BS student, Chemical Engineering
  • Seth Spawn, PhD student, Geography
  • Julia Thomas, PhD student, Sociology
  • Nathan Wang, BS student, Chemical Engineering
  • Brian Weaver, PhD student, Biophysics
  • Meng Xu, PhD student, Chemistry

In total, the NSF named 2,000 students as recipients of 2018’s GRFP awards, selected through peer review process from over 12,000 applicants.

The twenty-seven UW-Madison awardees are:

  • Tesia Janicki, PhD student, Chemistry
  • Edna Chiang, PhD student, Microbiology
  • Juan Camilo Bohorquez, PhD student, Physics
  • Benjamin Gastfriend, PhD student, Chemical Engineering
  • Audrey Evans, PhD student, Electrical Engineering
  • Michael Aristov, PhD student, Chemistry
  • Mitchell Ledwith, PhD student, Cellular & Molecular Biology
  • Stephanie Blaszczyk-Beasley, PhD student, Chemistry
  • Curran Gahan, PhD student, Chemical Engineering
  • Delia Scoville, PhD student, Biochemistry
  • Kristin Brunk, MS student, Wildlife Ecology
  • Bryan Lakey, PhD student, Genetics
  • Nathan Murray, PhD student, Biochemistry
  • Katherine Mueller, PhD student, Cellular & Molecular Biology
  • Aidan McKenzie, PhD student, Biochemistry
  • Natalie Duncombe, PhD student, Economics
  • Camilo Machuca, PhD student, Astronomy
  • Christopher McAllester, PhD student, Genetics
  • Jhewelle Fitz-Henley, PhD student, Pharmaceutical Sciences
  • Gabriela Negrete-Garcia, BS Degree, Chemistry
  • Kiersten Haffey, undergraduate, Biomedical Engineering
  • Emily Jewell, undergraduate, Engineering Mechanics
  • Hunter Johnson, undergraduate, Biomedical Engineering
  • Celeste Keith, General Course – BS Degree
  • Taylor McKenna Marohl, undergraduate, Biomedical Engineering
  • Lucas Oxtoby, BS Degree, Chemistry
  • Elizabeth Rose Penn, undergraduate, Geological Engineering

In total, the NSF named 2,000 students as recipients of 2017’s GRFP awards, selected through peer review process from over 13,000 applicants.

The twenty-one UW-Madison awardees are:

  • Bayleigh Benner, PhD student, Microbiology
  • Brian Carrick, PhD student, Biochemistry
  • Patrick Cervantes, PhD student, Cellular and Molecular Biology
  • Julie Davis, PhD/Master’s student, Astronomy
  • Alexandra DiNicola, PhD student, Botany
  • Leah Escalante, PhD student, Genetics
  • Christine Isabella, PhD student, Biochemistry
  • Taylor Keding, PhD student, Neuroscience
  • Jesse Kidd, PhD student, Chemistry
  • Samantha Knott, PhD student, Chemistry
  • Elizabeth Laudadio, PhD student, Chemistry
  • Nicole Piscopo, PhD student, Biomedical Engineering
  • Paige Piszel, PhD student, Chemistry
  • Kyle Robinson, PhD student, Biochemistry
  • Taylor Scott, PhD student, Cellular and Molecular Biology
  • Matthew Styles, PhD student, Chemistry
  • Edwin Suarez-Zayas, PhD student, Neuroscience
  • Sydney Thomas, PhD student, Cellular and Molecular Biology
  • Daniel Vigil, BS student, Chemical Engineering
  • Thejas Wesley, BS student, Chemical Engineering
  • Randee Young, PhD student, Genetics