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04-25-2008

Two Clarkson University Students Receive NSF Graduate Research Fellowships

[A photograph for media use is available at http://www.clarkson.edu/news/photos/nsfgrad2008.jp g ]

Two Clarkson University Honors students from the Physics and Chemical & Biomolecular Engineering departments have received National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowships.NSF

Senior Niall M. Mangan, a dual physics and mathematics major from McAllen, Texas, and senior Christy D. Petruczok, a chemical engineering major from Orchard Park, N.Y., were awarded the fellowships.

This is a significant accomplishment, because although National Science Foundation Fellowships are awarded to both undergraduate and graduate students, they typically go to students already into their graduate work.

A graduate of McAllen (Texas) High School, Mangan has been a Presidential Scholar for all seven of her semesters at Clarkson and was named a Goldwater Scholar in 2006. "Niall has an extraordinary combination of abilities and talents," says Honors Program Director David M. Craig. "Her talents and interests in science are so powerful that she could have majored in any of the sciences and do distinguished work."

In her graduate research, Mangan proposes to use various theoretical physics methods, such as probability, statistics, and non-linear dynamics, to analyze problems in biology. "Specifically I am interested in how organisms create, transport, and store energy, all of which are complex systems," says Mangan. "I hope that by having a better understanding of how nature regulates and optimizes its energy use, we may create new renewable energy resources.

I love the power behind manipulating a physical model, which not only fits the end result but also describes the mechanism behind a phenomenon; this is why I enjoy theoretical physics. I also am deeply concerned about out current energy crises and the connected environmental problems. My hope is that I can help create sustainable energy resources by doing what I most enjoy -- theoretical physics and math.

A graduate of Orchard Park (N.Y.) High School, Petruczok has been a Presidential Scholar for all seven of her semesters at Clarkson and was named a Goldwater Scholar in 2006. "Christy too has a wonderful combination of abilities and talents," says Craig. "There is no doubt that she has the makings of a first rate teacher and researcher. She magnifies her powerful intelligence with her work habits, discipline, and focus."

My ultimate goal is to become a professor, opening students' eyes to polymer chemistry in the classroom and the research laboratory. My experiences in academia and Destination Imagination have made me realize my desire not only to learn, but to teach; this honor will help my aspirations come to fruition.

Clarkson's Honors Program is an intensive four-year curriculum for exceptionally talented students. The University admits only 30 new students to the Honors Program each year.

Clarkson University crosses the boundaries of disciplines, nations and cultures in order for discovery, engineering innovation and enterprise to come together. As a result, faculty and graduates grasp the full impact of their calling, direct their research to the world's pressing issues and lead with confidence and distinction. One in seven alumni is already a CEO or other senior executive. Located in Potsdam, N.Y., just outside the six-million-acre Adirondack Park, Clarkson is home to 3,000 students preparing for rewarding careers through 50 rigorous programs of study in engineering, business, arts, science, and health sciences, as well as unparalleled outdoor recreation and life experiences beyond the classroom.

Photo caption: Clarkson University seniors Niall M. Mangan (right) of McAllen, Texas, and Christy D. Petruczok of Orchard Park, N.Y., have received National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowships.

[News directors and editors: For more information, contact Michael P. Griffin, director of News & Digital Content Services, at 315-268-6716 or mgriffin@clarkson.edu.]

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