BME student awarded NSF Graduate Research Fellowship; 1 Honorable Mention

BME student, Ella Hoogenboezem, was awarded a National Science Foundation (NSF) Graduate Research Fellowship! These fellowships recognize and support exceptional graduate students in NSF-supported science, technology, engineering and mathematics disciplines who are pursuing research-based masters and doctoral degrees at accredited US institutions. For the 2017 competition, NSF received close to 13,000 applications and made 2,000 award offers.

Ella Hoogenboezem is a fourth-year biomedical engineering student in Dr. Christine Schmidt's lab. Her primary research focus is on the development of an injectable decellularized nucleus pulposus scaffold for the treatment of degenerative disc disease. Degeneration of the intervertebral disc is the leading cause of low back pain, which will affect up to 84% of the population during their lifetime.

NSF awardees receive five years of support, which includes a stipend of $34,000 as well as a cost-of-education allowance of $12,000. The total value of each award exceeds $130,000. Also, awardees are eligible to receive support for international research experiences. The selection was based on demonstrated potential to contribute to strengthening the vitality of the U.S. science and engineering enterprise.

BME graduate student Michaela Mertz, also in Dr. Schmidt’s lab, received an Honorable Mention which is considered a significant academic achievement! Michaela is focused on developing biomaterials and therapeutic strategies for spinal cord injury repair.

Additionally, Zachery Quicksall, a 2016 alumnus who is studying at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, was awarded an Honorable Mention.