Fellowships Office

Welcome!  The University of Utah College of Engineering Fellowships Office is designed to help you find, compete for, and win national and international fellowships and scholarships.  (Note: For information on local / university scholarships, check out the COE scholarships website.) Within these pages, you will find a database of opportunities, guidance on how to build a winning application, as well as information on upcoming events and a list of previous winners.  Note that you can stop by the Office of Fellowships in person and view example winning applications from previous years that students have contributed.

There are a number of educational, intellectual, and personal reasons to apply for fellowships and scholarships.  These awards may provide funding for tuition, living expenses, travel, and other items.  Further, earning such awards help to increase your competitiveness for follow-on fellowships, scholarships, and awards, and will also help your future applications for employment stand out.

I encourage you to choose a few fellowships / scholarships of interest, start your applications early, and attend our information sessions held each Fall. Also, make sure to obtain strong letters of recommendation, solicit feedback on your essays, and devote a significant amount of time towards rewriting your materials.  Good luck!!

Jamesina Simpson
Associate Professor, Electrical and Computer Engineering Department
Director, Fellowships Office
Office: Merrill Engineering Building (MEB) 2278
Email:  jamesina.simpson@utah.edu

P.S.  Please let me know if you are awarded any fellowships so I can add your name to the list of winners! Also, please share with me suggestions for improving the website or ideas fo new fellowship opportunities that should be added to the fellowship list.


Fellowship and Scholarship List

To request changes or additions to this list please email Prof. Simpson.

Aside from what is listed below, you can also search other databases, such as Fatomei


Barry M. Goldwater Scholarship January Sophomores and Juniors Up to $7,500 annually for tuition, fees, books, and room and board.

National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship November Seniors and graduate students within the first two years of starting graduate study Three years of support, $32k annual stipend, $12k annual cost-of-education allowance, XSEDE supercomputing resources

Other National Science Foundation Fellowships and Opportunities Varied Graduate students Varied

National Defense Science and Engineering Graduate (NDSEG) Fellowship December Graduate students near the beginning of their studies; U.S. citizens and nationals Up to 3 years of support; stipends of ~$31k, tuition, health insurance

Ford Foundation Fellowship November Predoctoral and Doctoral fellowships; U.S. citizens and nationals; for students planning a teaching and research career at a university Fellowships ranging from $20k to $40k

Force and Motion Foundation Scholarships Varied Graduate students in fields related to multi-axis force measurement and testing Awarding more than $35k in travel and academic scholarships to promising graduate students each year

Whitaker International fellows and Scholars Program Jan./Feb. Varied, for biomedical engineers Varied

Blue Waters Graduate Fellowship February U.S. citizens; for Ph.D. students whose research can benefit from a year of training and access to the Blue Waters petascale computing system 1 year support, $38k stipend, up to $12k in tuition allowance, an allocation on the Blue Waters petascale computing system, travel support to a Blue-Waters sponsored symposium

NASA Fellowship Opportunities Varied Varied NASA Space Technology Research Fellowships, NASA Office of Education Fellowship Programs, NASA Harriett G. Jenkins Graduate Fellowship Program, Graduate Student Research Program, Jenkins Pre-Doctoral Fellowship Program

Churchill Scholarship November (must be nominated first by the University of Utah; Contact: Michelle Taliaferro of the Honors College) U.S. citizens or naturalized, seniors or recently graduated, between ages 19 and 26 For studying at Cambridge University in the United Kingdom

Oak Ridge National Lab Science Education Programs Varied Varied Varied

NASA EPSCoR RID Student Awards September Graduate students at Utah institutions teaming with industry and/or government agency to perform research $7,500 in funding

Department of Defense (DoD) Science, Mathematics, and Research for Transformation (SMART) Scholarship for Service December Undergraduates and Graduate Students; U.S. citizens; 18 years and older; Able to participate in summer internships at DoD labs; willing to accept post-graduate employment with the DoD; minimum cumulative GPA of 3.0 on a 4.0 scale Aims to increase the number of civilian scientists and engineers working at DoD laboratories.

National Academies Research Associateship Programs 4 times a year, depending on the opportunity Varied; Undergraduates and Graduate Students; some opportunities require U.S. citizens. Generous stipend (some opportunities offer a base stipend of $74k and a travel allotment).

Stewardship Science Graduate Fellowship January Undergraduates and 1st and 2nd-year Graduate Students; for students interested in stewardship science, such as properties of materials under extreme conditions and hydrodynamics, nuclear science, or high energy density physics; fellowship includes a 12-week research experience at Lawrence Livermore, Los Alamos, or Sandia National Laboratories Fellowship includes $36k stipend, payment of tuition and required fees, $10k yearly academic allowance, 12-week research practicum; renewable for up to 4 years.

American Public Power Association Scholarships February 15 and October 15 Undergraduates studying in technical programs in short supply and high demand by the utility industry Various opportunities providing up to $5k and up to $4k for travel

Pathways to Science: Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics Varied Undergraduates and Graduate Students; emphasis on connecting underrepresented groups with STEM programs, funding, mentoring, and resources Program, fellowship, mentoring, and resource information

American Association of University Women Scholarships and Fellowships Varied Women; Varied Career Development Grants; Selected Professions fellowships; American Fellowships

Semiconductor Research Corporation Fellowships and Scholarships Varied Varied GRC Graduate Fellowship Program, GRC Master’s Scholarship Program, SRC NRI/Hans J. Coufal Fellowship

Harry S. Truman Scholarship February U.S. Citizens, Juniors For students pursuing careers in public service

Jos Willems Young Investigator Award from the International Society for Computerized Electrocardiology For students pursuing careers in electrocardiology

Hertz Graduate Fellowship Award Fall U.S. Citizens and permanent residents, Seniors and Graduate Students in applied physical, biological, and engineering sciences 5 years, $31k / 9 months (+$5k for fellows with dependent children), full tuition equivalent

NIH Kirschstein National Research Service Awards for Individual Predoctoral Fellows (F31 pre-doctoral fellowship) Graduate students, varied Typically 2-3 years of support

Microsoft’s Graduate Women’s Scholarship Program First year, female graduate students One-year award, $15k, $2k for conference travel

National GEM Consortium Engineering Fellowships Varied For minorities M.S. and Ph.D. Engineering Fellowships, Ph.D. Science Fellowships

Department of Energy Graduate Fellowship Program January U.S. Citizens; Seniors and first or second year graduate students 3-year awards, stipend, partial tuition, research allowance

Summa Foundation Graduate Fellowships in Advanced Electromagnetics February M.S. and early Ph.D. students studying electromagnetics One time award of $15k

UNCF MERCK Science Initiative Scholarships and Fellowships December African American undergraduates, graduates, and post-docs; Undergrad scholarships ($25k), Grad Fellowships ($53k), internship opportunities, mentoring and networking opportunities

DAAD German Academic Exchange Service Scholarships Varied Undergraduates, graduate students; Varied

IBM Ph.D. Fellowship Program Ph.D. students Up to 3 years; honors students interested in solving problems of interest to IBM

Advancing Science in America (ARCS) Scholarship

Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) Scholarships and Fellowships Varied Varied

NVIDIA Graduate Research Program Graduate students who have already completed their first year of Ph.D. studies (you can apply and receive the one-year award multiple times) Award can be applied towards tuition, books, salary, living stipend, conference travel

Department of Energy Computational Science Graduate Fellowship January Seniors and graduate students Renewable for up to 4 years, $36k yearly stipend, full tuition and required fees, yearly program review, $5k academic allowance in first fellowship year, $1k academic allowance each renewed year, 12-weeks research practicum

Environmental Protection Agency Fellowships Varied Undergraduate and graduate students Varied

IEEE Antennas and Propagation Society Student Research Awards (Electromagnetics) Nov 1 and April 1 Undergraduate and graduate students Varied

Society of Women Engineers Scholarships Varied Female undergraduate and graduate students Varied

Tau Beta Pi Fellowships February Undergraduate and graduate students To support students during their graduate studies; $10k; must be a member of Tau Beta Pi

Asia Pacific Summer School March Civil engineering graduate students at a U.S. university (not restricted to US citizens) Partial scholarships for up to 10 students to attend the summer school and workshop

National Physical Science Consortium Graduate Fellowships in the Physical Sciences November Typically undergraduate seniors apply; U.S. citizens Two-phase, six-year fellowship (initial support for 2-3 years); fellowship covers tuition and fees and provides a generous stipend; NPSC’s principal objective is to aid in increasing the number of Ph.D.s in the physical sciences and related engineering fields.

Post-Doc Fellowship and Job Opportunities

To request changes or additions to this list please email Prof. Simpson.

Also see the information posted at the U’s Office of Sponsored Project’s website.


National Academies Research Associateship Programs 4 times a year, depending on the opportunity Generous stipend (some opportunities offer a base stipend of $77k and a travel allotment). Some opportunities open only to U.S. citizens.

National Science Foundation Post-Doc Opportunities Varied Varied

Ford Foundation Postdoctoral Fellowship November U.S. citizens and nationals; for postdocs planning a teaching and research career at a university; $40k

National Science Biomedical Research Institute June Two-year award, with an option for a third year; for scientists or physician-scientists in any lab in the U.S. conducting biomedical/biotechnological research aligned with NSBRI’s goals; $42,500 stipend for the first year along with health insurance

NASA Postdoctoral Program Opportunities Varied Varied

Technische Universitat Munchen Research Opportunities May Spend a year in Germany in a postdoctoral position with a TUM University Foundation Fellowship

Oak Ridge National Lab Opportunities Varied One year and short-term opportunities available; citizenship not required

UNCF MERCK Science Initiative Postdoctoral Fellowships December African Americans; fellowships up to $92k; Ph.D. or equivalent in biological chemical or engineering fields

Sandia National Labs Post-Doc Positions Varied For those who have completed a doctoral degree within the past 3 years; Sandia provides support through a Postdoctoral Professional Development Program ((PD)2P; includes a comprehensive benefits package, including health insurance, vacation, paid holidays, and relocation assistance.

Sandia National Labs Truman Fellowship November 1 For Ph.D. graduates (within the past 3 years) with research in areas of interest to national security; Minimum GPAs of 3.5/4.0 (undergrad) and 3.7/4.0 (graduate) preferred; ability to obtain and maintain a U.S. Department of Energy security clearance; no previous post-doc appts. at a national lab; salary of ~$110k with a benefits package

Oak Ridge Institute for Science and Education Varied For recent Ph.D. graduates in science or engineering

National Space Biomedical Research Institute (NSBRI) First Award Fellowship Program June Two Year awards; ~$43k stipend plus health insurance allowance

L’Oreal USA for Women in Science Fellowships May For female Ph.D. graduates; American born, naturalized citizen, or permanent resident; grants up to $60k each

Jack Eddy Postdoctoral Fellowships January For Ph.D. graduates (within the past 3 years); two-year fellowship; for training the next generation of Heliophysics researchers

Rowland Junior Fellows Program November For Ph.D. graduates (within the past 3 years); fellowship term is for up to 5 years; for experimentalists in all fields of science and engineering; $65k+ / year

Student Application Guide for Fellowships

Earning a high GPA is not enough or necessarily required to be awarded a fellowship.  Students with lower GPAs often earn fellowships over 4.0 students by gaining the right experiences.   Instead, focus on earning good grades while also:

  • Serving in leadership positions.
  • Actively participating in research (make sufficient progress on your research such that you can be considered the lead person for part or all of a research project; also strive to publish papers and present at conferences).
  • Volunteering.
  • Strengthening your academic network (in particular, help faculty get to know you so that they may be better equipped to write you strong letters of recommendation for your applications; also attend guest lectures to broaden your knowledge and network).
  • Sitting on committees and learning how the academic world works from the inside.

Start your applications early (several months in advance)!  Solicit feedback on your application materials from both engineers and non-engineers.  Thoroughly rewrite your essays at least 5 – 10 times or more.

Keep in mind that reviewers usually need to judge a large number of applications and will likely not spend very long on any individual application unless it quickly appears to be truly competitive.  Grab the attention of the reader early (as in the first sentence and especially the first paragraph).  Consider that serving as a reviewer can be tedious work, so try to make your application a breath of fresh air for the reviewer and stand out from the other applications in positive ways. Write such that your readers get excited about what you are proposing and / or about the promise of what you might accomplish in your studies and future career. Help them feel the excitement you feel.

Importantly, make sure to follow each and every application instruction. Consider using at least a 12-point font even if smaller fonts are permitted in order to make it easier for the reviewer to read your application (especially older reviewers).

Carefully consider the eligibility criteria for the fellowship program before preparing an application. For example, note that senior undergraduate students and both first AND second year graduate students can apply for the NSF Graduate Research Fellowship. Some students do not realize that they can apply to this program during the second year of their graduate studies, and they miss an opportunity to compete.

Look at example winning essays either in person in Prof. Simpson’s office, or there are some posted online, such by the Biology Department.

Suggestions for a personal essay (intellectual autobiography):

  • Take full advantage of the space provided to you to write your essay, but don’t cram text into the space by using small font or small line spacing.
  • Do not just write a chronology of your accomplishments / experiences. Instead, organize your accomplishments / experiences into 3-5 points that you want to convey to the reader.
  • Along the same lines, do not just list what you’ve accomplished.  Instead, describe what you learned from your experiences and emphasize what impact you made.
  • Demonstrate leadership and outcomes of your leadership.  For example, do not just state that you held office.  What changed or improved because you held that office?  What did you learn from holding that office?
  • What outreach activities have you participated in or led? What impact did these activities have (on you and/or the other people)?
  • Discuss your career goals. If you’re applying for a research fellowship, you will likely want to emphasize that you plan to pursue a research career (that may or may not also involve teaching, etc.). Try to be as specific as possible without being too specific (do not specify a certain company / national lab / or university you want to work for). Would you rather work in academia or industry?

Suggestions for a research proposal / essay:

  • Understand what the fellowship reviewers are expecting. For example, if you are applying to the NSF GRFP, don’t write your research proposal like a normal NSF or NIH grant. You need to sell yourself in your application and research proposal more than you need to sell your research idea.
  • Convince reviewers that both you and your work deserve funding (but mostly that YOU deserve the funding).
  • Convince them that you possess or will quickly learn all of the necessary skills to achieve your goals.
  • Convey the importance of what you plan to work on. The panelists will consider that you may not actually perform the actual research you are proposing (depending on where you decide to go to school, whether you’re already in graduate school or not and are working in a research lab, etc.). As such, you need to convey that you are capable of formulating a strong scientific question, and that you have the necessary background to answer that question (or will get it), etc.
  • Demonstrate that your methodology is sound.
  • Show that you have an adequate plan and time to conduct the research.
  • Demonstrate, if possible, that you are capable of working both independently and as part of a team.
  • Suggestions / Information Specific to the NSF GRFP:

For 2014, the NSF GRFP received 14,000 applications, and they made about 2,000 awards (of which 1,069 are women, 382 are from underrepresented minority groups, 55 are persons with disabilities, and 37 are veterans).

Carefully consider and address the suggestions / questions listed on the following NSF GRFP website when writing your essays: Application Materials. Also consider the merit review criteria listed at: Merit Review Criteria.


The Office of Fellowships will periodically hold fellowship information sessions for students. Faculty and staff are also encouraged to attend.

Each Fall, the Office of Fellowships will also hold a fellowship essay writing workshop for students. Special emphasis will be on the NSF Graduate Research Fellowship, although the workshop material will be applicable to any fellowship application. In Fall 2014, a 3-hour (2-session) fellowship writing workshop will be held Oct. 1 and 8, 4:30 – 6:00 pm in WEB L101. In these sessions, we will analyze previous winning essays, discuss best practices, brainstorm ideas and organization of your own essay, and obtain feedback on your essay. If possible, please bring a laptop; also bring a printed draft personal statement to the 2nd session on Oct. 8th.

Here are the documents we will be using at the workshop, in case we run out of hard copies:
Personal Statement_Fellowships_template
Personal Statements Workshop_ Fellowships_ThinkSheet
Essay Examples — Note, NSF has changed the personal statement length to 3 pages.
PDF of the Workshop Slides (1st Session)
PDF of the Workshop Slides (2nd Session)
NSF Proposed Research Example — Note, although not included in this example, I recommend you include a few references at the end of your research statement.

Past Winners

To request changes or additions to this list, please email Prof. Simpson.

Year       Student Recipient Fellowship Name Advisor Department
2014 Colin Young NSF Graduate Research Fellowship Chemical Engineering
2014 Bharath Velgapudi NSF Graduate Research Fellowship Honorable Mention Bioengineering
2014 Marsa Taheri NSF Graduate Research Fellowship Honorable Mention Bioengineering
2014 David Christopher Radford NSF Graduate Research Fellowship Honorable Mention Bioengineering
2014 Kyle Hansen NSF Graduate Research Fellowship Honorable Mention Bioengineering
2014 Jessie France NSF Graduate Research Fellowship Honorable Mention Bioengineering
2013 Joseph (Joey) Brink NASA Space Technology Research Fellowship Prof. Jake Abbott Mechanical Engineering
2013 Wei-Fan Chiang NVIDIA Graduate Fellowship School of Computing
2013 Michael Newton NSF Graduate Research Fellowship Chemical Engineering
2013 Jacobs Daniel NSF Graduate Research Fellowship Honorable Mention Prof. Ling Zang Materials Science and Engineering
2013 Bharath Velagapudi NSF Graduate Research Fellowship Honorable Mention Prof. Patrick Tresco Bioengineering
2013 Matthew Converse NSF Graduate Research Fellowship Honorable Mention Prof. Ken Monson Mechanical Engineering
2013 Annicka Carter Goldwater Scholarship Bioengineering
2012 Peng Li NVIDIA Graduate Fellowship School of Computing
2012 Joshua Booren NSF Graduate Research Fellowship Dr. Kent Bachus Bioengineering
2012 Katherine Sciuto NSF Graduate Research Fellowship Bioengineering
2012 Colin Young NSF Graduate Fellowship Honorable Mention Prof. Marc Porter Chemical Engineering
2012 Benjamin Bunes NASA Graduate Research Fellowship Prof. Ling Zang Materials Science and Engineering
2012 Megan Presquard ARCS Fellowship Materials Science and Engineering
2011 Precious Cantu National GEM Fellowship Prof. Rajesh Menon Electrical and Computer Engineering
2011 Precious Cantu NSF Graduate Research Fellowship Prof. Rajesh Menon Electrical and Computer Engineering
2011 Jacobs Daniel NSF Graduate Research Fellowship Honorable Mention Prof. Ling Zang Materials Science and Engineering
2011 Vasiliy Chernyshev NSF Graduate Research Fellowship Honorable Mention Prof. Mikhail Skliar Chemical Engineering
2011 Weibin Sun NVIDIA Graduate Fellowship School of Computing
2011 Patrick David Loftus Goldwater Honorable Mention Bioengineering
2011 Heather Herd DoD SMART Fellowship Bioengineering
2010 Adam Gormley DoD SMART Fellowship Bioengineering
2010 Huy T. Vo NVIDIA Graduate Fellowship Prof. Claudio Silva SCI Institute
2009 Benjamin Bunes NSF Graduate Research Fellowship Honorable Mention Prof. Ling Zang Materials Science and Engineering
2009 Kody Powell NSF Graduate Research Fellowship N/A (undergraduate senior) Chemical Engineering
2009 Huy T. Vo NVIDIA Graduate Fellowship SCI Institute
2009 Randall Platt Goldwater Honorable Mention Bioengineering
2009 Russell Condie NSF Graduate Research Fellowship Bioengineering
2009 William Scott Lee NSF Graduate Research Fellowship Prof. Ken Stevens Electrical and Computer Engineering
2007 Won-Ki Jeong NVIDIA Graduate Fellowship Prof. Ross Whitaker SCI Institute
2007 Dolly Holt NSF Graduate Research Fellowship Honorable Mention Bioengineering
2007 Shibaji Shome Jos Willems Young Investigator Award Prof. Rob. MacLeod SCI Institute
2006 Brydger Cauch Goldwater Scholarship Chemical Engineering
2006 Mathias Schott NVIDIA Graduate Fellowship Prof. Chuck Hansen SCI Institute
2004 Guo-Shi Li NVIDIA Graduate Fellowship Prof. Chuck Hansen SCI Institute
2003 Joe Kniss DOE Computational Science Graduate Fellowship Prof. Chuck Hansen SCI Institute
2001 Randall McDermott DOE Computational Science Graduate Fellowship Prof. Philip Smith Chemical Engineering
1999 Diem-Phuong Nguyen DOE Computational Science Graduate Fellowship Prof. Philip Smith Chemical Engineering
1996 J. Dean Brederson DOE Computational Science Graduate Fellowship Prof. Christopher Johnson SCI Institute
1994 Steven Parker DOE Computational Science Graduate Fellowship Prof. Christopher Johnson SCI Institute
1994 David Weinstein NSF Graduate Research Fellowship Prof. Chris Johnson SCI Institute

Information for Faculty

First and foremost, please encourage your students to apply for fellowships!

Here are some ways that you may be helped by your students winning fellowships:

  • Fellowships can help save your research dollars by providing student stipends, tuition, etc.
  • Student fellowships help improve the image and name recognition of your lab, the Department, and the College of Engineering.
  • With fellowship-winning students in your lab, you are more likely to attract more students with fellowships. Also, you will understand better how to help your current/future students build winning applications.
  • Some fellowships lead directly to great job opportunities with the funding agency for your student after he/she graduates (NASA, DoD, etc.).
  • Some fellowships provide summer internships during which students can continue their research at an agency, where they can both receive additional mentoring and build new research ideas, all while earning a salary from that agency (typically higher than what faculty can pay students).
  • You can expand your network and contacts by interacting with the funding agency and your student’s research collaborators.
  • When your students succeed, you succeed.

Please help even undergraduates students gain valuable research experience so that they may be more competitive for national and international fellowships.  Consider giving them credit or paying them to help you or your graduate students with research projects.  It may be very advantageous for both you and the student if you can provide them a project or part of a project in your lab that they can have a sense of ownership over and run with (perhaps after some trial period). For faculty with NSF grants, consider applying for a Research Experience for Undergraduates (REU) award.

To help your students better compete for national and international fellowships, it is vital that you contribute a strong letter of recommendation to their application when letters are requested.  Writing strong recommendation letters for fellowship applications is an art and requires focusing more, for example, on how the student is going to be a future leader and can perform original research, rather than how thoughtful they are or that they got an “A” in your class, etc.  The Office of Fellowships keeps an archive of strong examples of letters of recommendation for various fellowship competitions from previous winning application packages.  Please stop by the Office in person to view these example letters. Also note that many fellowship opportunities have FAQs for reference writers (such as the NSF FAQs for Reference Writers)

Faculty are also encouraged to register to serve as a reviewer for student fellowship competitions.  By serving as a reviewer, you can both help select our future leaders while also gaining a valuable perspective that you can share with your students and fellow faculty to help them build more competitive applications.  Please look at the bottom of this page for more information on how to register to serve as a reviewer for some competitions.

Finally, do not forget to inform the Office of Fellowships when one of your students is awarded a fellowship!

Information on how to register to serve as a review panelist for:

  • DOD    
    Visit  http://panelists.asee.org to enter your profile information into the database.  Note that creating this profile does not commit you to anything, and formal invitations are sent to only a portion of those in the database.

  • National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship (GRFP)
    Visit http://www.nsfgrfp.org/for_educators/consider_serving_as_a_grfp_reviewer
    Note that creating this profile does not commit you to anything, and formal invitations go to only a portion of those in the database.   Invitations to serve are sent out in early Sept./Oct. The panel reviews occur in early January. Starting in 2014, all of the reviews and panels will be conducted online (no travel is required). The reviews are of student applications, consisting of essays and support materials similar to those submitted in graduate school applications.  The research proposal is a two-page essay.


Prof. Jamesina Simpson, Merrill Engineering Building (MEB) 2278
Phone: 801-585-6929
Email: jamesina.simpson@utah.edu

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