Nineteen UC Irvine graduate students recently were awarded 2010 National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowships, a 375 percent increase over last year. An additional 22 received honorable mentions. The fellowships will bring in more than $2.3 million in new, extramural resources to support the students’ research over the three-year period of the awards.

The increase – the largest percentage gain for any university in the UC system – was the result of effective collaboration between UCI’s Graduate Division and academic school faculty and staff. For the first time, NSF workshops, peer-review sessions and writing tutorials were held to help students define and refine their proposals. Of the 19 students who won fellowships, 12 had attended workshops offered through UCI’s Graduate Resource Center – a campuswide program dedicated to the needs of graduate students, and one of the first such centers in the country.

“This year’s success is a testament to UC Irvine’s strength and potential as an institution,” said Frances Leslie, Graduate Division dean. “Thanks to collaborative efforts among students, faculty and staff, our NSF–offered-award success rate jumped fivefold. We expect to build upon existing programs to further enhance our students’ ability to excel in an increasingly competitive environment.”

The UCI students and their areas of study are: Justin Chung, informatics; Margaret Cramer, informatics; Cheryl Deutsch, social sciences; Sandra Dooley, life sciences; Samuel Fletcher, social sciences; Joshua Hirner, organic chemistry; Alaine Kalder, psychology and law; Avinash Khanna, organic chemistry; Christopher Maddox, psychology; Acacia Madrona, life sciences; Christopher Marshburn, psychology; Nicholas Preketes, theoretical chemistry; Claire Robertson, biomedical engineering; Alejandro Rodriquez Perez, physical chemistry; Christopher Slay, life sciences; Brian Tarroja, engineering; Alexander Wagner, organic chemistry; Sean White, biomedical engineering;  and Jennifer Williams, psychology.

The NSF awarded 2,000 Graduate Research Fellowships for 2010. The fellowship program is designed to ensure the vitality of the human resource base of science and engineering in the U.S. and to reinforce its diversity.  It recognizes and supports outstanding graduate students in NSF-supported science, technology, engineering and mathematics disciplines who are pursuing research-based master’s and doctoral degrees.

About the University of California, Irvine: Founded in 1965, UCI is a top-ranked university dedicated to research, scholarship and community service. Led by Chancellor Michael Drake since 2005, UCI is among the most dynamic campuses in the University of California system, with nearly 28,000 undergraduate and graduate students, 1,100 faculty and 9,000 staff. Orange County’s largest employer, UCI contributes an annual economic impact of $3.9 billion. For more UCI news, visit

News Radio: UCI maintains on campus an ISDN line for conducting interviews with its faculty and experts. Use of this line is available for a fee to radio news programs/stations that wish to interview UCI faculty and experts. Use of the ISDN line is subject to availability and approval by the university.