For the second time and in consecutive years, a Geneseo undergraduate has won a prestigious National Science Foundation (NSF) Graduate Research Fellowship.
Shayne O’Brien, a senior applied mathematics/Spanish double major from Center Moriches, N.Y., on Long Island, won the 2017 award in the area of Computer/IS/Machine Learning and has been accepted into a graduate program at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). The Graduate Research Fellowship Program (GRFP) provides three years of financial support within a five-year fellowship period for graduate study leading to a research-based master’s or doctoral degree in science or engineering.
"The strength of Shayne’s work was recognized by the NSF reviewers who all gave him ‘excellent’ marks in their comments about his potential to succeed in graduate school — the highest possible category — and recognized his desire for his research to have a significant impact on rural and international communities,” said Michael Mills, Director of National Fellowships and Scholarships at Geneseo. “Shayne is a first-generation college student and feels an obligation to serve others in his career as a mathematician. His award is a further indicator of the quality of instruction Geneseo STEM students are receiving and how the scientific community values the research being done by our undergraduates.”
At Geneseo, O’Brien is in the college’s honors program as an Edgar Fellow. He is the first Geneseo undergraduate or graduate-student mathematics alumnus to earn an NSF Graduate Research Fellowship.
Joining O’Brien as a winner of a 2017 NSF Graduate Fellowship is Geneseo alumna Jane Coons ’15, who won in the area of Mathematical Sciences/Mathematical Biology for her graduate work at North Carolina State University. Geneseo biology alumna Jenna Lentini ’13 also received an Honorable Mention in Life Sciences/Systems and Molecular Biology for her work at the University of Rochester.
Last year's winner, Grant Kusick ’16, a biology/Spanish double major, was the first Geneseo undergraduate to receive the award from the highly regarded federal agency that supports research and education in non-medical fields and is presently in a graduate program and a life sciences/microbial biology lab at Johns Hopkins University.