University of South Carolina

NSF awards fellowships to 10 USC graduates

Ten students and recent graduates from the University of South Carolina were named 2010 graduate research fellows by National Science Foundation.

Elizabeth Ann Bell, daughter of Martha Ann and Ray Bell of Christiansburg, Va., is a 2008 graduate with a degree in geology from the South Carolina Honors College. Bell attended USC on a McNair scholarship, the most prestigious award for out-of-state students, and earned a Barry M. Goldwater scholarship to pursue a career in science. She is currently working on a doctorate in geochemistry at UCLA.

David Coats, son of Faye Thorpe and Edward Coats of West Columbia, earned his undergraduate degree in electrical engineering in December 2009 and is pursuing his graduate degree in electrical engineering at USC. Coats, who earned a Palmetto Fellows Scholarship as an outstanding high-school senior, was named an Outstanding Electrical Engineering Senior and received a NASA Space Consortium grant.

Denise Dunovant, daughter of Teresa and Raymond (Dunnie) Dunovant of West Columbia, is a 2008 graduate with a degree in geography. While an undergraduate, Dunovant studied and conducted research in Ghana, Kenya and Uganda and was a Fulbright scholar in sub-Sahara Africa. She will use her NSF fellowship for graduate study in the United Kingdom.

Cynthia Krafft, daughter of Susanne and Gary Krafft of Woodruff, is a 2008 graduate with a degree in experimental psychology. She is studying the effects of exercise on the cognition of overweight children while pursuing a doctorate at the University of Georgia. She is also a graduate of St. Joseph Catholic High School in Greenville.

Elizabeth Dawn LaBone, daughter of Joan and Tom LaBone of Aiken, is a recent graduate of the South Carolina Honors College with a degree in biology. While an undergraduate, she was active in SAGE (Students Advocating a Greener Environment) and conducted research in USC’s department of biological sciences. She is going to pursue a doctorate at LSU.

Joey Montoya, son of Sara and Barry Montoya of Summerville, is a recent graduate of the South Carolina Honors College with a degree in chemical engineering and mathematics with a minor in music performance. He is a 2008 Goldwater scholar, a 2010 Rhodes finalist, the captain of the Academic Team Competition and a Carolina scholar. He was a member of Pi Mu Epsilon, the math honors society, and Tau Beta Pi, the engineering honors society. He will pursue graduate work in catalysis and chemical reaction engineering at Stanford.

Alisha Owensby, daughter of Marti and Roy Owensby of Chattanooga, Tenn., is a 2006 graduate of the South Carolina Honors College with a degree in biology and a minor in chemistry. She served as a volunteer teacher with WorldTeach in the Marshall Islands. Owensby currently is a doctoral student in botany and plant pathology at Oregon State University.

Christopher Poirel, son of Sandra Stevens-Poirel and Dennis Poirel of Columbia, is a 2008 graduate of the South Carolina Honors College with a degree in mathematics. While an undergraduate, he conducted research in hypergraph theory with Dr. Joshua Cooper of USC’s department of mathematics. He is currently a doctoral student in computer science at Virginia Tech. Poirel is a graduate of Waccamaw High School in Pawley’s Island.

Brad Setzler, son of Helen and Carl Setzler of Newberry, was a Magellan research scholar and is a recent graduate of the South Carolina Honors College with degrees in mathematics and philosophy and a minor in economics. While at USC, Setzler was president of the Cultural Exchange Association, president of Phi Sigma Tau philosophy honor society and chairman of the Waverly Economic Development Committee. He will soon start a doctoral program in economics at the University of Chicago.

Amanda Whaley is a 2004 graduate with a degree in physics. She is a graduate student at Rice University.

Two other recent USC graduates, Alexander Lesov and Aaron Warren, were granted honorable mention in the competition.

NSF fellows are allowed three years to finish their studies and given an annual stipend of up to $30,000 for full-time graduate study, an annual cost-of-education allowance of $10,500 in lieu of all tuition and fees at any U.S. university and a $1,000 travel grant.

USC NSF fellows

  • Elizabeth Ann Bell ('08), Christiansburg, Va.
  • David Coats ('09), West Columbia
  • Denise Dunovant ('08), West Columbia
  • Cynthia Krafft ('08), Woodruff
  • Elizabeth Dawn LaBone ('10), Aiken
  • Joey Montoya ('10), Summerville
  • Alisha Owensby ('06), Chattanooga, Tenn.
  • Christopher Poirel ('08), Columbia
  • Brad Setzler ('10), Newberry
  • Amanda Whaley ('04), Houston

By Office of Media Relations

Posted: 07/06/10 @ 2:50 PM | Updated: 07/06/10 @ 2:50 PM | Permalink