SOECS alumni Dustin Dovala ‘09 is one of four alumni who are recipients of the NSF Graduate Research Fellowship.

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    Four Pacific Alumni receive National Science Foundation Fellowships

    Apr 26, 2011

    Four alumni from University of the Pacific are among the winners of the National Science Foundation 2011 Graduate Research Fellowship Program (GRFP), a competitive program that recognizes outstanding graduate students for up to three years of research.

    The recipients are graduates of the School of Engineering and Computer Science and the College of the Pacific: Liza Boyle (Mechanical Engineering, '09), Dustin Dovala (Bioengineering, '09), Mikael Minier (Biochemistry, Mathematics, Asian Studies '10), and Cheryl Zurbrick (Chemistry, '09). They are now completing their graduate studies at University of Colorado, Boulder; UCSF; UC Santa Cruz; and MIT, respectively.

    Students who have completed no more than twelve months of full-time graduate studies in a research-focused Master's or Ph.D. program in an NSF-supported field at an accredited U.S. institution are eligible to apply for the NSF GRFP. Recipients receive a $30,000 annual stipend and a $10,500 allowance for cost of education expenses for up to three years as well as international research and professional development opportunities.

    This year, 2,000 Fellows were selected from a variety of fields who graduated from numerous different baccalaureate institutions, many which are larger than Pacific.
    "I think it's a huge deal for Pacific alums to get so many Fellowships, especially considering the population of the school-a very high success rate," says Dovala.

    Dovala credits his advantage to programs from the School of Engineering and Computer Science, including the required senior project and the Expanding Your Horizons program, a day of science, math, and engineering for young female students in the Stockton area.

    "I think these two events gave me a huge advantage over some of the other applicants," he says. "I wanted to extend a big thank you to the School of Engineering and Computer Science for giving me the opportunities I had back in undergrad."

    Dovala and Boyle are not alone in their high scholarship from the School of Engineering and Computer Science. Current civil engineering students Thanh Do and Gregory Weissmann have received scholarships from Tau Beta Pi, the nation's oldest engineering honor society. They are among the 157 Tau Beta Pi Scholars for the year who are chosen based on scholarship, strong faculty recommendations, campus leadership and service, and the promise of contributing to the engineering profession. Both Do and Wiessmann are active members of the California Phi chapter of Tau Beta Pi at Pacific and will receive a $2,000 cash prize for the upcoming school year.