Launched in 1952 shortly after Congress established NSF, the Graduate Research Fellowship (GRF) program represents the nation's oldest continuous investment in the scientific workforce. The program recruits high-potential, early-career researchers and supports their graduate training in science, technology, social science, engineering, mathematics, and STEM education.


Awardees receive three years of support. Support includes a $37,000 annual stipend along with a $12,000 cost-of-education allowance that covers tuition and fees. Awardees also have access to two professional development programs: the Graduate Research Opportunities Worldwide (GROW) program, which supports students researching in overseas labs, and the INTERN program, which supports research internships in any sector of the U.S. economy. Fellows also have access to NSF’s Career-Life Balance initiative.

Ken Vickery, director of Fellowships in the Graduate College, says, "This year's GRF cohort represents the next generation of STEM leaders who will tackle some of the most pressing problems of the day. Congratulations to each of them for their extraordinary achievement."

Listed below are the awardees and Honorable Mention designees from the University of Illinois. A nationwide list of recipients is available on the NSF-GRF FastLane website.

Awardees & Honorable Mentions include:

  • Eric D. Arredondo (Integrative Biology)
  • Jeannette E. Cullum (Ecology, Evolution, and Conservation Biology)
  • Vivian Cheng (Ecology, Evolution, and Conservation Biology)


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