Alums get eight NSF grants; four undergrads get scholarships

The National Science Foundation has awarded two Penn students and six alumni graduate research grants. The NSF awards grants and fellowships to “strengthen scientific and engineering research potential, and education programs at all levels.” The winners are:

  • Adina J. Alpert (C’98), whose graduate research includes computer modeling of the formation of craters on Venus and on Europa, a moon of Jupiter;
  • Kirsten Bomblies (C’96), whose area of study is biochemistry;
  • Diane Beth Biray Gregorio (W’91), who is an alumna of Wharton Business school and majored in entrepreneurial management;
  • Yeung Tan Li (EAS’99), who graduated with a bachelor’s degree in material science;
  • Ting F. Ng (EAS/W/G’99), whose primary interests are differential geometry and mathematical physics. Last summer he worked for the NSF Research Experience for Undergraduate Program at Williams College and did research on minimal surfaces;
  • Dana Royer (C’98), whose research will involve the investigation for a technique that will infer atmospheric CO2 concentrations in the geological past, which is “important for understanding how the earth operates during times of high CO2 levels,” she stated. “This is something most people are concerned with given the rising CO2 levels in the last 20 years”;
  • Brian W. Smith (EAS’98), who is currently pursuing an engineering Ph.D. program here, is working with carbon nanotypes. He describes them as a flat sheet of carbon atoms rolled into a tube which “could slide down the center of a DNA strand.” Ideally what could be discovered is a material that is a hundred times stronger than steel but only one-sixth the weight. It could also be used as a conductor for electricity;
  • Monique Timberlake (C’88), who is now in an anthropology Ph.D. program, is out of the country doing work in the field. Her areas of interest are listed as western European and Celtic artifacts.


  • Clifford Haugen (M&T’00) and Cynthia Liebman (C’00) were recipients of Morris K. Udall scholarships. Established by Congress in 1992 to honor the late former congressman Morris King Udall, the Morris K. Udall Foundation awards $5,000 scholarships to 75 outstanding scholars nationwide who demonstrate a commitment to fields related to the environment, and to Native American and Alaska Native students in health care or tribal public policy.
  • Dan Fleder (EAS’01) and Josh Kohn (M&T’00) were each awarded a Bell Atlantic scholarship. The $4,500 scholarship is awarded to one incoming junior and one incoming senior who are interested in the social, political and economic aspects of global telecommunications. The recipients must also demonstrate leadership potential and top academic achievement.

— Russell Campbell

Front page for this issue | Pennsylvania Current home page

Originally published on September 2, 1999