Eleven students from the Mayagüez Campus (RUM) of the University of Puerto Rico (UPR) obtained the prestigious Graduate Research Fellowship Program (GRFP) scholarship granted by the National Science Foundation (NSF), which makes the College once again the Puerto Rican institution of higher education with the highest number of scholarship holders.
This year, the honor went to Lee Roger Chevres Fernández, Ian González Amador, Christian José Lagares, José A. Lasalde Ramírez, Edgard Alvin Lebrón Rodríguez, Cristina Lorenzo Velázquez, Diego Rafael Ramos Ortiz, Daniela Marina Rivera Mirabal, Gabriel Sánchez Velázquez, Hosea Amos Santiago Cruz and Elizabeth Torres De Jesús, all students and graduates of the RUM.
The schoolboys thus share the achievement with four students and five former students from the Río Piedras Campus of the UPR; two students and two graduates of the UPR in Humacao; as well as a former student of the UPR in Cayey. In fact, of the 26 scholarship recipients from Puerto Rican universities, 25 are from the UPR.
The NSF-GRFP program this year awarded a $ 34,000 grant that supports college students in their graduate studies and research in the areas of science, technology, engineering or mathematics (STEM).
Also, seven RUM graduates received honorable mention, among them: Zoila Isabel Álvarez Aponte, Janet Marielis Crespo Cajigas, Hansel Anel Montalvo Castro, Ricen Marie Díaz Arroyo, Natasha Ivelisse Román Ortiz, Roberto Gabriel Sotomayor Mena and Jesús Antonio Sánchez Pérez.
The announcement was received with great emotion by several of the scholarship recipients, who have agreed that it represents a recognition of years of effort and academic dedication.
“It is one of the greatest academic awards that I have received throughout my academic career,” reacted to the distinction Christian José Lagares, a graduate of the 2019 class of Mechanical Engineering from RUM and a doctoral student from the same department.
“I still remember seeing these kinds of scholarships since high school and dreaming of being there at some point. Throughout my high school I learned more about options and the GRFP was always my aspiration; receiving the scholarship represents a goal achieved and financial security throughout the second half of my doctorate ”.
Meanwhile, Hosea Amos Santiago Cruz, who completed his studies in Chemical Engineering in December 2020 and will begin his doctorate at Carnegie Mellon University this summer, highlighted the importance of recognition for Puerto Rican students.
“Receiving the GRFP is evidence that it is possible for young people in Puerto Rico to receive prestigious academic offers and that the diverse representation of our communities in graduate STEM programs is sorely lacking,” he said.
For his part, José A. Lasalde Ramírez, a mechanical engineering high school student, said that having been selected “validates many years of preparation for my graduate studies and indicates the excellent education received at the UPR (…). Being able to extract knowledge of the specialties and cultures of different areas of the UPR system is an invaluable tool that helped me obtain this scholarship ”.
Dr. Jorge Haddock, president of the UPR, congratulated the students and thanked the work of professors and mentors who supported and encouraged the GRFP recipients.
“The fact that the students of the University of Puerto Rico can compete for these scholarships and grants is also a recognition of trust and good administrative work. Congratulations! ”, He highlighted.
“It fills us with great satisfaction that our students and graduates lead the list of scholars from Puerto Rico universities, especially with this highly competitive gift. We celebrate them! Congratulations! ”, Said Dr. Agustín Rullán Toro, rector of the RUM, meanwhile.