Chemistry senior earns graduate research fellowship from National Science Foundation

Head shot of Claire Hefner

Claire Hefner ’22, a chemistry major at The College of Wooster, recently received a National Science Foundation (NSF) five-year fellowship that includes three years of financial support through a $34,000 annual stipend and a $12,000 allowance toward the cost of education.

The Graduate Research Fellowship Program (GRFP) seeks to distinguish and support graduate students pursuing research-based master’s and doctoral degrees in STEM disciplines. Hefner plans to attend Colorado State University starting this fall to pursue a Ph.D. in chemistry.

“Receiving this award is incredibly exciting and humbling,” said Hefner. “Now that graduate school funding is not a concern, I will have access to a wider variety of research groups to join.”

Paul Edmiston, Theron L. Peterson and Dorothy R. Peterson Professor of Chemistry at Wooster, served as Hefner’s faculty mentor and described her as an excellent student and a diligent researcher. “The NSF Fellowship is a wonderful recognition of Claire’s talents,” said Edmiston. “All of us in the chemistry department look forward to following her future endeavors.”

During her early years at Wooster, Hefner was a key member of Edmiston’s lab team doing environmental science research into perfluorinated compounds in the environment. “Those early experiences helped guide me toward further research, participating as a team member on published articles, and eventually the NSF fellowship.” She spent the summer prior to her senior year as an Air Force Research Laboratory Scholar before returning to campus to do work on protected metal catalysts for water treatment as her senior Independent Study project.

Hefner said Edmiston (or Dr. “E” as most call him) has had the greatest impact on her as an undergrad student, and she sincerely appreciates the amount of time and effort he gave her. “His passion for learning, teaching, and students’ well-being go beyond anyone I have ever known,” said Hefner.

Edmiston and Jennifer Faust, assistant professor of chemistry, also supported Hefner during the “intense” application process by writing recommendation letters, helping her decide on a research topic, and re-reading multiple drafts of her personal and research statements.

“The College of Wooster truly is a premier undergraduate institution,” declared Hefner. “I strongly recommend that students take the initiative to reach out and try to find faculty members to connect with at Wooster, as it can lead to great opportunities.”

Published May 12, 2022

Posted in News.

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Head shot of Claire Hefner

Chemistry senior earns graduate research fellowship from National Science Foundation

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