Cynthia Holland, a Henderson State University senior from Alexander, has received a National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship. Holland, a biology major, earned the prestigious post in her first year of eligibility.
The fellowship provides a $32,000 stipend for each of three years, as well as a $12,000 cost of education award to Washington University in St. Louis, Mo., where Holland will be attending graduate school.
Holland, who minors in chemistry, has conducted research with Dr. Martin Campbell for two years. She is a student-teacher in Intro to Biology lab and president of Gamma Beta Phi.
“This fellowship is one of the most prestigious fellowships a graduate student in the sciences can receive,” said Campbell. “A student is eligible to apply for it as a senior undergraduate or during the first two years of graduate study. To my knowledge, this may be the first Henderson student to receive such an award, especially during the first year of eligibility.”
Holland said Campbell sparked her interest in research. “I didn’t know I actually wanted to go to graduate school or do any research work until Dr. Campbell mentioned NSF research programs, so I applied for several and got accepted,” Holland said. “After that, I fell in love with research. I spent the last two years working in his lab. It’s been a really good experience that has helped prepare me, along with my course work.”
Holland said she’s “very happy” she decided to attend Henderson. “Although it’s a smaller school and not a research university, I’ve had many opportunities that I might not have received at larger schools,” she said, citing the one-on-one interaction with the professors, and the “small-school feel.”
“The professors have been very helpful and are always willing to lend a helping hand,” Holland said.
According to its website, the purpose of the NSF Graduate Research Fellowship Program is to help ensure the vitality and diversity of the scientific and engineering workforce of the United States. The program recognizes and supports outstanding graduate students who are pursuing research-based master’s and doctoral degrees in fields within NSF’s mission.
The GRFP provides three years of support for the graduate education of individuals who have demonstrated their potential for significant achievements in science and engineering research.