PROVO -- Five Brigham Young University students have received fellowships from the National Science Foundation to pursue graduate research.

"It is a very nice honor, really quite well recognized," said David Long, associate dean of the College of Engineering and Technology at BYU. "This is the highest honor that a graduate student can get."

The fellowships provide each student with three years of financial support, including a $32,000 annual stipend, international research and professional development opportunities and access to a supercomputer.

The students are William Cocke in algebra, number theory and combinatorics; Thomas Hardin in metallic materials; Ryan Hill in economics; Jeremy Rehm in organismal biology; and Kendrick Shepherd in computational science and engineering.

In addition, two BYU seniors were given NSF fellowship honorable mentions. They are Samuel Dittmer and Kyle Pratt, who are each studying algebra, number theory and combinatorics.

Seven BYU graduates who are attending other institutions for graduate studies also received NSF graduate research fellowships. They are Michael Barnett in economics at the University of Chicago; David Eargle in human computer interaction at the University of Pittsburgh; Wyatt Felt in mechanical engineering at the University of Michigan-Ann Arbor; Chris Miller in neurosciences at Stanford University School of Medicine; Anna Hawes in biomedical engineering at Boston University; Aaron Smith in astronomy and astrophysics at the University of Texas at Austin, and Chad Varner in chemical engineering at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute.

Five others earned honorable mention. They are Caitlin Askew in neurosciences from the University of California-Irvine; Jeremiah Bejarano in social sciences economics from the University of Chicago; John Hickey in biomedical engineering from Johns Hopkins University; Matthew Nielsen in chemistry chemical synthesis from Princeton University; and Andrew Westover in engineering materials from Vanderbilt University.

"Each year the National Science Foundation funds about 1,500 of these nationwide," Long said. "BYU gets a few of these. We actually have traditionally done quite well."

He cited the university's research as one of the reasons.

"We do well on these because we try to involve undergraduates doing fundamental research," he said.

Long also lauded the students. "An NSF fellowship means they are essentially the best of the best," he said. "This is really quite impressive for these students."

• Daily Herald reporter Barbara Christiansen can be reached at (801) 344-2907 or Twitter: @bchristiansen3.

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