Texas Engineers Selected for 2021 NSF Graduate Research Fellowship Program

April 1, 2021

Four graduate students with the Walker Department of Mechanical Engineering have been selected for the 2021 National Science Foundation's Graduate Research Fellowship Program. 

The National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship Program recognizes and supports outstanding graduate students in NSF-supported STEM disciplines who are pursuing research-based master’s and doctoral degrees at accredited US institutions. The five-year fellowship includes three years of financial support including an annual stipend. Meet the winners below. 

Jonathan Madera

JMadera NSF pic

Hometown: Harker Heights, TX

Program: Mechanical Engineering

Research Area: Surgical Robotics/Dynamic Systems and Controls

What does receiving this fellowship mean to you? As far as words can describe, receiving the NSF GRFP is an incredible honor for me. It was a big goal of mine to just submit the application, so I am very humbled to have been selected. I am also grateful for all the people that have supported me in the past few years as well as those I have met more recently at UT Austin. Looking towards the future, I am excited to take advantage of this opportunity and use it to make contributions to the field of surgical robotics.


Eva Natinsky

eva natinsky

 Hometown: Austin, TX

Program: Mechanical Engineering

Research Area: Nanometrology/Process Control for Nanomanufacturing

What does receiving this fellowship mean to you? I was delighted to learn that I had been awarded the NSF fellowship; I feel lucky to have quickly found a lab group at UT that I truly enjoy being a part of, and a novel research project that aligns well with my interests, which I believe has great potential to improve metrology techniques in a variety of applications. This fellowship will provide me with extra freedom and financial security for the next three years to continue developing this project in the pursuit of my Ph.D.


Seamus Ober

seamus ober

Hometown: Newfield, NY

Program: Materials Science and Engineering

Research Area: Electrochemical Energy Storage

What does receiving this fellowship mean to you? I have long been passionate about working toward the goal of global energy sustainability, and the NSF fellowship funding will support me as a researcher studying battery technology to contribute to energy storage solutions which help realize this goal. I am honored and humbled to join the growing community of NSF Fellows dedicated to advancing STEM fields and educating future generations of scientists and engineers.



Ella Small

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Hometown: Atlanta, GA

Program: Mechanical Engineering

Reserach Area: Biomechanical Engineering

What does receiving this fellowship mean to you? I am so grateful to receive the NSF GRFP. It means so much to be able to continue my research in helping to understand the neuromuscular and biomechanical mechanisms that contribute to walking and balance control. I could not have done it without the help of Dr. Neptune and the NMBL lab!