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Three Graduating Seniors Earn Top Graduate Studies Awards

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With graduation just around the corner, three senior engineering students have a little extra to celebrate this year. Matthew Bandelt CEE ’10 and Jessica Shaw CEE ’10 were selected to receive the National Science Foundation’s Graduate Fellowship Award, while Kent Grosh ME ’10 was awarded one of two Fulbright Teaching Assistantships to Nepal.

“We are thrilled that these students have been recognized for their hard work and talent with such prestigious awards,” says Dr. Gerard Jones, Associate Dean for Undergraduate Studies.

The National Science Foundation’s Graduate Fellowship Award, the oldest graduate fellowship of its kind, recognizes outstanding students who are pursuing research-based master’s and doctoral degrees in science, technology, engineering, and math disciplines. The Fulbright Program is the largest U.S. international exchange program offering opportunities for international graduate study, advanced research, university teaching, and teaching in elementary and secondary schools worldwide.

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Bandelt plans to return to Villanova in the fall to complete the College of Engineering’s five-year B.S./M.S. degree program, where he will be researching the composite behavior of a structural steel and precast concrete framing system through funding from Girder-Slab Technologies LLC. Throughout the next year, he will be exploring research opportunities with the NSF Graduate Research Fellowship Program and plans to begin a Ph.D. program in the fall 2011.

Shaw, who will earn a double major in physics and civil engineering, will attend the University of California at Los Angeles, where she plans to pursue a Ph.D. in plasma physics and conduct research in nuclear fusion as an alternate energy source. Shaw was also a finalist for the Hertz Fellowship, a highly competitive post‐graduate fellowship to support Ph.D. studies in applied sciences, and earned a 2009 Honorable Mention in the Goldwater Scholarship competition. She was also offered a fellowship from the National Nuclear Security Administration and a Cota-Robles fellowship from UCLA.

In addition to his teaching assignment in Nepal, Grosh, a Villanova University Presidential Scholar, plans to share his love of math and science through after-school tutoring. In the summer of 2009, Kent received a Villanova University Research Fellows (VURF) grant to conduct research with Dr. Hashem Ashrafioun, professor of Mechanical Engineering, in the design and testing of an intelligent exoskeleton for lower limb rehabilitation. After his Fulbright year, Grosh hopes to pursue graduate study in sustainable technology and international development.

For more information about the NSF Graduate Fellowship Award, visit For more information on the Fulbright Program, visit

For more information on undergraduate research, scholarship, or grant opportunities, visit