Auburn University claims four NSF Graduate Research Fellows and three honorable mentions

AUBURN UNIVERSITY – The National Science Foundation has named an Auburn University student and three alumni as NSF Graduate Research Fellows and cited two other Auburn students and an alumnus for honorable mention.

The recently named fellows are Honors College student Lauren McManus, a senior in aerospace engineering; Matthew McBride, a 2012 Honors College graduate in chemical engineering; Jennie Appel, a 2011 graduate in electrical engineering; and Joshua Jarrell, a 2005 graduate in applied mathematics.

Each fellowship provides three years of support at $30,000 annually and an additional $10,500 cost-of-education allowance. The purpose of the fellowship program is to help ensure the vitality and diversity of the scientific and engineering workforce in the United States.

McManus, a senior Honors College student, is completing her honors thesis under the direction of professor Brian Thurow in the Department of Aerospace Engineering. McManus’ research project is part of the Thurow Advanced Laser Diagnostics Lab where, for the past three years, she has been studying turbulent boundary layer flow. She will pursue a doctorate at the University of Colorado Boulder in the fall.

“Lauren is an outstanding student who has immersed herself in the academic culture at Auburn University and has taken advantage of every opportunity presented to her,” Thurow said.

McBride is a spring 2012 Honors College graduate in chemical engineering. He is in his first year of graduate study at the University of Colorado Boulder where he is pursuing a doctorate in chemical engineering. At Auburn he worked under the guidance of professor Mark Byrne in the Department of Chemical Engineering. McBride’s research applies “click” chemistry to develop shape memory polymers with novel deployment mechanisms, unique properties and surface functionalization.

“He was a top student in the Ginn College of Engineering and did remarkable work at Auburn completing his honor’s thesis in my group involving the engineering of comfort enhanced polymeric biomaterials,” Byrne said.

Appel, a spring 2011 graduate in electrical engineering, is pursuing graduate studies at Arizona State University where she is working to develop a quick, disposable, portable detection system for the detection of hazardous substances in drinking water. At Auburn, her undergraduate research focused on improving high-aspect ratio copper electroplating for 3-D integrated circuits.

Jarrell, a 2005 graduate in applied mathematics and a sergeant first class in the U.S. Army, is pursuing a doctorate in applied physiology at Georgia Tech with a focus on prosthetics. Jarrell’s research examines direct-skeletal-attachment of prostheses, which holds high potential for upper and lower limb combat amputees. At Auburn, Jarrell pursued a minor in music, served as a math tutor and continued his military obligations, including deployment to Iraq for a year.

“I have been fortunate to have been inspired by many students during my career but none has been more inspirational than Josh,” said Jarrell’s former dean, Stewart Schneller, professor of chemistry.

Two Auburn students and one alumnus also received honorable mention. They are Stephen Giles, an Honors College senior in chemical engineering who will pursue a doctorate at the University of Delaware beginning in the fall; George Hernandez, a graduate student in electrical engineering who will continue his studies at Auburn where he works under the direction of professor Michael Hamilton; and Chad Rose, a 2012 Honors College graduate in mechanical engineering pursuing graduate studies at Rice University.

“Auburn’s record number of NSF winners and honorable mentions is a testament to the outstanding faculty researchers who give generously of their time to mentor our students,” said Paul Harris, associate director of the Honors College. “Given the large number of student and alumni applicants my office assisted this past fall, I anticipate Auburn’s continued success in the NSF awards competition in the years to come.”

The National Science Foundation’s Graduate Research Fellowship Program 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 U.S. institutions. Students in their senior year or those who have not completed a full year of graduate study are eligible to apply. For more information, go to

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