Three Electrical and Computer Engineering students earn the NFS Graduate Research Fellowship

Anderson Roy Phillips, Sadie N. Brasel, and Autumn Bruncz are among 32 total students awarded the fellowship at Rice


Three Rice University Electrical and Computer Engineering graduate students have earned the prestigious National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship (NSF GRFP)—a remarkable accomplishment for students in STEM.

Anderson Roy Phillips, Sadie N. Brasel, and Autumn Bruncz are among 32 total students awarded the fellowship at Rice -- and 22 from the Rice Engineering department. They are now part of an elite group of Fellows with an extraordinary potential for academic success and contributions to STEM.

NSF GRFP is a five-year fellowship that provides three years of financial support for students early in their graduate careers in science, technology, math, and engineering. Fellows are provided three years of financial support within a five-year fellowship period, including a $37,000 annual stipend and a $12,000 cost-of-education allowance to the graduate institution.

Brasel is studying metallic nanoparticles to advance solar cells and solar-enhanced catalysts. She lends her success in earning the Fellowship to the support she received from the graduate and postdoctoral studies (GPS) office at Rice.

“I'd like to thank my PI, Stephan, for all his support in my research and NSF GRFP application,” said Brasel. “I'd also like to thank the GPS office for organizing the NSF GRFP writing workshops and mentorships which were integral to my success.”

With the help of this fellowship, all three students will be able to take their research further, which could have positive real-world impacts in the future.

Bruncz is studying ways electrons in nanoparticles can be used in photovoltaic and photocatalysis applications, which could have benefits in energy storage, air purification, solar energy, and more.

And for the medical field, Phillips’ research could greatly improve the detection of brain injuries.

My research interests lie at the intersection of engineering and neuroscience–the possibility of developing technologies to better understand cognition and repair the brain and neural systems,” said Phillips who is currently working with medical center collaborators to detect mild traumatic brain injury easier and using non-invasive sensors.

The original version of this story was written by Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies.

Story by contributing writer Kaitlyn Evener