Monday, May 7, 2012 - 9:31am

Ten UGA students and alums received graduate fellowships from the National Science Foundation to conduct research during their master's and doctoral studies, including four from Franklin College:

Christopher Abin, of Miami, Fla., is pursuing a doctorate in microbiology at the University of Georgia. As a Florida International University undergraduate student, Abin made the dean’s list every semester and received a National Institutes of Health Research Initiative for Scientific Enhancement Fellowship. He will be studying microbes that survive in high saline and heavy metal habitats to see how they transform toxic compounds. His research may eventually help bioremediation of heavy-metal contaminated sites worldwide, and may also provide insight into life on other planets.

While an undergraduate student at UGA, Ashley Edwards, a computer science major from Conyers, Ga., presented a research paper on machine learning at an international symposium held in Paris by the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers, the world’s largest association for professionals in those fields. She is now pursuing a doctorate in robotics at Georgia Technical Institute, with an emphasis on artificial intelligence and machine learning. Edwards’ research project will allow multiple people to train a robot by interacting with a virtual representation of it.

Katie Orlemanski, of Lilburn, Ga., received her undergraduate degree in women’s studies and international affairs from UGA in 2007. Since then she has worked in Africa for an international development agency and now plans to pursue a doctorate in cultural anthropology at Rutgers University. Her research focuses on understanding violence against women in sub-Saharan Africa.

Matthew Schultz, of Roswell, Ga., majored in genetics at UGA and is now pursuing a doctoral degree in biomedical sciences at the University of Alabama at Birmingham. Schultz is studying how carbohydrate structures in cells affect, and possibly regulate, protein function. He received an honorable mention last year.

The awards provide students with up to $126,000 during a five-year period for research in the areas of science, technology, engineering and mathematics. Sixteen students and alumni also received honorable mentions (six from Franklin). Honorable mention recipients do not receive a stipend, but may conduct research for a full year using the TeraGrid, the world’s largest connected group of high-performance computers.

Congratulations to all of these students - on receiving these awards but also for the dedication to their work that earned this support and recognition.