Spring Commencement: Graduate earns prestigious NSF fellowship

Elise Eckman

Elise Eckman of Poland, Ohio, who graduates at Youngstown State University’s Spring Commencement on Saturday, May 11, has been awarded a prestigious Graduate Research Fellowship from the National Science Foundation that will finance PhD studies in Aerospace Engineering at Cornell University starting this fall.

A double major in Mathematics and Mechanical Engineering and a member of the YSU Honors College, Eckman receives a $34,000 annual stipend and $12,000 for tuition for up to five years, along with the opportunity for international research collaborations and federal internships as an NSF Graduate Research Fellow.

Under the highly competitive NSF program, recipients are chosen each year from a field of applicants nationwide. The program recognizes and supports outstanding graduate students who are pursuing full-time research-based master's and doctoral degrees in science, technology, engineering and mathematics or in STEM education.

Eckman started doing research during the summer after her freshman year with Associate Professor of Mathematics Alicia Prieto Langarica. “Dr. Prieto introduced me to research, she is the entire reason I started to doing research and without her, I wouldn’t be on this path,” said Eckman.

“After I finished my math research, it was really obvious to me that I didn’t want to stop doing research,” she added. “I sought out additional opportunities in the Mechanical Engineering department, and I was on two different research projects that really solidified the fact that I want to have a research career in Engineering.”

Eckman hopes to eventually work in the research field, preferably in deep space — theoretical.