The National Science Foundation (NSF) recently presented three from the College of Behavioral and Social Sciences—Department of Psychology seniors Jacob Glassman and M Pease, and Department of Anthropology alumnus Betselot Wondimu, ‘19—with Graduate Research Fellowship Program (GRFP) awards.
Considering only 2,000 of 2020’s more than 13,000 applicants were selected as fellows—the latest applicant data made publicly available—Glassman, Pease and Wondimu have proved themselves to be truly outstanding students pursuing STEM research-based graduate degrees; conflict between social groups, LGBTQ+ issues, and the sociocultural constructions of mental health in the African-diaspora are their respective research interests.
"I am grateful to the University of Maryland and BSOS for helping me develop the skills and experience necessary to receive this award,” said Glassman. “I am especially grateful to Dr. Melanie Killen and her lab for providing me with generous mentorship, numerous research opportunities, and, above all, thoughtful and caring support. I am also grateful to my family and friends who have supported me in my academic endeavors, and from whom I have learned so much."
Pease, who will be graduating in May and returning to participate in the university’s doctoral program in counseling psychology this fall, echoed that gratitude, particularly for the research work the award will support.
"I am honored to receive this fellowship and, in doing so, be entrusted and empowered to produce research that supports mental health and equity for LGBTQ+ and intersectionally marginalized communities,” said Pease. “The funding allows me to establish impactful research projects and engage with my communities to advance social justice in my graduate program and eventual career."
Each fellow will receive three years of financial assistance that includes an annual stipend of $34,000, plus $12,000 to be paid to the institution for tuition, fees and professional development opportunities.
“I feel honored to be recognized by the National Science Foundation during the first year of my graduate training,” said Wondimu, who is currently pursuing a Ph.D. in sociomedical sciences from Columbia University. “I hope to lean on the fellowship to pursue work specifically problematizing conceptualizations of ‘resilience’ in public and scientific discourse, and broadly complicating mental health research in communities subjected to racialized forms of structural violence.”
Fellows also benefit from the program’s long reputation of supporting researchers who’ve gone on to win Nobel Peace Prizes and hold leading positions in both the public and private sector. Steven Chu, former U.S. Secretary of Energy, and Sergey Brin, the founder of Google, are both NSF GRFP fellows, as is Freakonomics co-author Steven Levitt.
To learn more about the NSF GRFP, visit nsfgrfp.org.
Main photo caption: From left to right, Jacob Glassman, M Pease and Betselot Wondimu