Three EEES Students Win NSF Graduate Fellowships

April 5, 2017

Congratulations to Sarah Donaher, Shyla Kupis, and John Sherwood who will be receiving graduate fellowships through the National Science Foundation (NSF)’s highly competitive Graduate Research Fellowship Program (GRFP). The GRFP is a national competition that provides financial support to graduate students in science and engineering disciplines. For the 2017 competition, the GRFP made 2,000 awards out of a pool of over 13,000 applications that underwent an NSF peer review process. We are proud to have three of those students here in our department. Kupis and Sherwood were previously awarded Graduate Assistance in Areas of National Need (GAANN) fellowships.


Sarah Donaher – Environmental Engineering & Science

Research proposal: Assessing the effects of multiple stressors on model organisms

Advisor: Dr. Nicole Martinez

What led her to research at Clemson:  After studying abroad in Germany and taking classes on sustainable energy (including nuclear power) and enjoying classes such as Hazardous Waste Management and Risk Assessment, I began working in Dr. Brian Powell’s radiochemistry lab group through Clemson’s Center for the Nuclear Environmental Engineering Sciences and Radioactive Waste Management. I also took Radioecology and became interested in the effects of contaminants, both radiological and chemical, on organisms. This past summer I began working with Clemson’s radioecologist, Dr. Nicole Martinez.

I had never even considered coming to Clemson until I was 16. My family and I were on the way back from a camping trip and we stopped in downtown Clemson for lunch (my first time at Triple T’s!) and my mom suggested we walk around campus. I was only a sophomore at the time and agreed rather grudgingly but the minute I set foot on campus I fell in love. I went on eighteen other college tours trying to get that same feeling back but I never did. Luckily Clemson also had a very strong engineering program and a great football team!



Shyla Kupis – Environmental Engineering & Science

Research proposal: Bridging the Information Gap from Data Sparsity for Applications in Hydrology

Advisors: Dr. Stephen Moysey and Dr. Taufiquar Khan

What led her to research at Clemson:  I have always been passionate about solving problems related to water quality and quantity in natural hydrologic systems. I am interested in finding solutions to challenging problems in the geosciences that can be used to help society or the environment in the management and protection of its groundwater resources, especially in smaller communities. My research is on improving the prediction accuracy of hydrogeologic state variables and processes by integrating geophysical sensing techniques and point samples from hydrologic data to represent large-scale, complex hydrologic systems in a compressed form using mathematical tools, such as wavelets. I chose Clemson because it gave me the opportunity to merge my passions for mathematics, hydrology and geophysics into an interdisciplinary research project. I was very excited when I was offered the DAISE GAANN Fellowship at Clemson because it has enabled me to do research with Dr. Stephen Moysey in the Department of Environmental Engineering and Earth Sciences and Dr. Taufiquar Khan in the Department of Mathematical Sciences. Graduate school at Clemson University has been a rewarding and wonderful experience so far from the people I have met to the research opportunities I have been given.



John Sherwood – Environmental Engineering & Science

Research proposal: BaSKET: Building a Strategy for Key Energy Transitions

Advisors: Dr. Michael Carbajales-Dale and Dr. Brian Dean

What led him to research at Clemson: I am passionate about researching the transition from fossil-fuel energy sources to renewable energy systems, and the long term economic, social, and environmental impacts of the energy sector. I first became passionate about sustainability after going on a sustainability-focused semester abroad in The Netherlands during my sophomore year (undergrad). Since then, I’ve become increasingly interested in how energy systems drive both economic growth (energy literally fuels the economy) and environmental degradation (through CO2 / hazardous emissions, and other environmental events [Fukushima/Chernobyl]). This intersection of energy, economy, and environment was certainly an interdisciplinary field, though one that did not seem widely researched. My undergraduate mentor Dr. Matt Heun, a Mechanical Engineering professor at Calvin College, is one of the researchers investigating energy-economy interactions. During my senior year at Calvin, Dr. Heun released a book, co-authored by Dr. Becky Haney (an economist) and Dr. Michael Carbajales-Dale – my current adviser at Clemson. It seemed like a natural fit to join Dr. Dale’s Energy-Economy-Environment Systems Analysis research group. In doing so, I have been able to continue researching what I’m passionate about with an awesome professor, while also broadening my skill-set to include environmental engineering. Coming to Clemson has definitely been the right choice, and I’m very glad for the opportunities I have been given here.