Mason students, alumna awarded prestigious NSF fellowships

headshot of Reefe
Michael Anthony Reefe. Photo provided

George Mason University recently continued its streak of students winning one of the most prestigious fellowships in the country.

Two Mason students and an alumna received graduate research fellowships through the National Science Foundation (NSF) Graduate Research Fellowship Program (GRFP), and one student was recognized with an honorable mention.

The 2022 recipients of the NSF GRFP are Michael Anthony Reefe, senior in physics and astronomy; Jordan Alexandra Sims, master’s student in life sciences, environmental biology; and alumna Jessie Elizabeth Greenslade, who graduated from Mason with a BS in neuroscience  in 2017 and is now a master’s student at the University of Pennsylvania. Madeleine Anne Becker, master’s student in life sciences, evolutionary biology, was selected for an honorable mention.

The fellowship recognizes and supports outstanding students who are pursuing research-based master’s and doctoral degrees in the United States. The five-year fellowship consists of three years of financial support including an annual stipend of $34,000 and a cost of education allowance of $12,000 to the institution. It also provides mentoring and networking opportunities, all of which allows students to focus on progressing their own research projects rather than teaching or working on research projects on behalf of their adviser.

woman headshot
Jordan Alexandra Sims. Photo provided

“This fellowship will open the door for so many new opportunities as I continue my academic career in graduate school and beyond,” said Reefe. “I am in this position now because of the support I received from my advisors, Shobita Satyapal, Peter Plavchan, and Joe Weingartner, and I am excited to pay their kindness forward in graduate school.”

“I have dedicated so much of myself to my research over the past five years, and it is truly validating to see all that work recognized on a national level,” said Sims. I am also aware that receiving this award is an enormous privilege, and I could not have accomplished it on my own. I am so grateful to my past and present mentors, especially my current advisor Jennifer Salerno, for their guidance, support, and never-ending faith in me.”

“The NSF GRFP award recognizes rising scholars for their dedication to diversifying STEM fields and to producing scholarship with broad, real-world impacts,” said Megan Bruening, assistant director of graduate fellowships at Mason. “These students embody Mason’s goal of developing creative scholars who will solve today’s toughest challenges.”