McGough Awarded NSF Graduate Research Fellowship

June 8, 2016

Catherine McGough, a graduate student in engineering and science education who is working with Dr. Lisa Benson, has been awarded a National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship (NSF GRF) for her proposed work on engineering student motivation and problem solving skills.


The NSF GRF program recognizes and supports outstanding graduate students in STEM disciplines who are pursuing research-based doctoral degrees at accredited U.S. institutions. For the 2016 competition, NSF received close to 17,000 applications and made 2,000 award offers. Catherine was awarded a NSF GRF for her proposal titled, “How Do Engineering Students’ Perceptions of the Future Affect Their Problem Solving Processes?” Catherine’s research seeks to identify how undergraduate engineering students’ future time perspectives and cognitive processes during problem solving, especially when working on ill-defined problems, are related. This connection will allow researchers to understand ways that students think about their futures and how they solve ill-defined problems, and will help instructors know where they need to focus their attention when teaching students to solve ill-structured problems such as those they will encounter after graduation.