May 15, 2013

Trent Key, civil engineering graduate student, and Kameron Kilchrist, biological engineering senior, were awarded National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowships.

NSF’s Graduate Research Fellowship Program is a merit-based fellowship that helps ensure the vitality of the human resource base of science and engineering in the United States and reinforce its diversity. The fellowship recognizes and supports outstanding graduate students in the fields of science, technology, engineering and mathematics who are pursuing research-based master’s and doctoral degrees at accredited U.S. institutions.

“A number of things prepared me for being able to successfully apply for this fellowship, including incredible mentoring from Dr. Daniel Hayes, my research advisor, and the LA-STEM staff, who encouraged me to apply and have provided great mentoring along the way,” Kilchrist said. 

After graduation, Kilchrist will attend Vanderbilt University as a Ph.D. student in the Department of Biomedical Engineering. He will join the Advanced Therapeutics Lab where he will work to develop new biomaterials for drug delivery and tissue engineering applications.

"Winning a National Science Foundation graduate research fellowship is a tremendous honor, and I can't think of a more deserving member of our lab than Kameron,” said Hayes, biological engineering assistant professor. “During the past four years, he has made critical contributions to ongoing synthetic bone graft research in our lab.  While he will be missed as a member of our research team, I look forward to working with him going forward in his career."

“I’m really excited to start the next chapter in my academic career, and receiving this award is definitely a great start to my career in research,” Kilchrist said.

Key graduated Summa Cum Laude with a Bachelor of Science in Environmental Engineering in December 2011 from LSU. He has been in graduate school at LSU for a year, pursuing a Ph.D. in civil engineering. Key works closely with Dr. William Moe researching isolation and characterization of novel dehalogenating bacterial species for use in bioremediation efforts of contaminated waste sites.

“My short-term and long-term plans include finishing my Ph.D. in civil engineering with an emphasis in environmental engineering and progressing in my field, whether in academia or in industrial practices, while promoting and encouraging diversity in engineering and science, which played a large role in my academic career and success,” Key said. “Receiving this fellowship has given me a great platform, as well as the means, to continue towards these short-term and long-term plans.”

Students submit applications and letters of recommendation, and they are evaluated based on their intellectual merit and broader impacts. They also submit a research proposal, in which applicants propose a research project for their graduate studies. This year, NSF received more than 13,000 applications and made 2,000 award offers. 


Article written by Elise Bernard, communications intern. For more information, contact Mimi LaValle, College of Engineering, or (225) 578-5706. 

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