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Three Pomona College Seniors Win NSF Graduate Research Fellowships

Pomona College seniors Jorie Koster-Moeller, Emily Stark and Alex Zylstra have been awarded National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowships. This prestigious fellowship comes with a $30,000 annual stipend for three years, $10,500 towards the cost of further education, a $1,000 one-time international travel allowance, and TeraGrid supercomputer access.

Of the five NSF Fellowships awarded in linguistics, Koster-Moeller is the only undergraduate student to receive one. She will use the award to pursue a PhD in linguistics and cognitive science at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. She plans to continue her study of linguistic theory, particularly semantics, combined with experimental work in psycholinguistics (i.e. sentence processing). She is from Corrales, New Mexico.

Stark, a mathematics major from Wellesley, MA, will start a Ph.D. program in pure mathematics at Tufts University, where she will study topology and algebra.

Zylstra, a physics major from Redmond, WA, will study high energy density physics at MIT, focusing on inertial confinement fusion experiments, in which a small pellet of hydrogen fuel in compressed and heated by laser beams to generate fusion power. He has also received a U.S. Department of Energy National Nuclear Security Administration Stewardship Science Graduate Fellowship, which provides a yearly stipend of $32,000, full tuition and fees, $1,000 yearly academic allowance, and support for summer periods of research at DOE national labs.

In addition, four recent Pomona graduates have received NSF Graduate Research fellowships in other areas. Shiri Azenkot ’05, a computer science major, received a fellowship in human-computer interaction. Karen Ring ’07, a molecular biology major, is studying neuroscience at UC San Francisco. Laura Rosen ’08, a molecular biology major, is enrolled in a biophysics program at UC Berkeley. James Tener ’08, a mathematics major, is enrolled in the mathematical sciences – modern analysis program at UC Berkeley.

Eight recent graduates also received honorable mention:
Jacqueline Chen ’07, Jay Daigle ’08, Diana Koulechova ’08, Emily Knouf ’07, Brian Palmer-Rubin ’04, Anja Scholze ’07, Emma Spiro ’07, and Max Wainwright ’07.

The NSF Graduate Fellowship Program supports “the nation’s research leaders of tomorrow” in the early stages of pursuing a research-based master’s or PhD degree.

Pomona College, one of the nation’s premier liberal arts colleges, is known for small classes, close relationships between students and faculty, and a range of opportunities for student research. In 2009, it was named to the “Best Value” college lists of Kiplinger’s Personal Finance Magazine and Princeton Review.