Five graduate students with the Walker Department of Mechanical Engineering have been selected for the 2023 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. 


briana cuero

Briana Cuero

Hometown: Round Rock, TX

Program: Mechanical Engineering

Research Area: Nanotechnology and Heat Transfer

What does receiving this fellowship mean to you?  Receiving the NSF Graduate Research Fellowship has shown me how much my hard work and dedication throughout my time at UT has paid off. When I went to Gone to Engineering in 2018, I was unsure if I would succeed because I had no prior experience in engineering and I was afraid that I was taking someone's spot who was more deserving. This fellowship showed me that I am an engineer; I belong here. I am excited to continue researching with this prestigious fellowship and I hope to come back to UT as a professor! Next up I will be pursuing my Ph.D. at Massachusetts Institute of Technology.



ben davis

Benjamin Davis

Hometown: Fort Worth, TX

Program: Mechanical Engineering

Research Area: Haptics and Physical Human Robot Interfaces

What does receiving this fellowship mean to you? New engineering developments have vastly increased the possibilities for human assistance and augmentation in fields like VR, prosthetics, teleoperation, and education, but these technologies are limited by their interface with the user. I'm interested in creating more seamless, compelling experiences for users by deepening our understanding of human perception and implementing more intuitive feedback systems. The NSF Graduate Research Fellowship will support me as I pursue this research goal and provide me with professional development opportunities during my PhD. The fellowship is a recognition of my past work and research potential, and I'm very thankful for my PIs (Dr. Ann Fey and Dr. Nanshu Lu), postdocs, and graduate students who provided guidance throughout my application and undergraduate research.



mark hamalian

Mark Hamalian

Hometown: West Bridgewater, MA

Program: Mechanical Engineering

Research Area: Thermal/Fluid Systems

What does receiving this fellowship mean to you? Receiving this fellowship is an honor and I am extremely grateful for the opportunity to devote my full time to research projects.




karey maynor

Karey Maynor

Hometown: Georgetown, TX

Program: Mechanical Engineering

Research Area: Thermal/Fluid Systems

What does receiving this fellowship mean to you? Receiving the NSF GRFP is a huge honor and I'm very grateful for the award. Winning the fellowship is validation in my abilities to produce meaningful research that can have a positive societal impact while pursuing my PhD and throughout my career. I'm excited to continue working on tackling climate change through carbon capture and sequestration and building the hydrogen economy. If not for the support of my advisor, Dr. Vaibhav Bahadur, labmates, friends, and family, this achievement would not have been possible – thank you all for your continued support and guidance.



job ramirez

Job Ramirez

Hometown: Melchor Múzquiz, Coahuila, México

Program: Mechanical Engineering

Research Area: Human-Robot Interaction; Biomedical Engineering

What does receiving this fellowship mean to you? It feels incredible to receive national-level recognition for my thought process and commitment to improving society through engineering. Being awarded this Fellowship validates my vision to assist individuals with physical and neurological disorders and further motivates me to continue this challenging but meaningful endeavor.