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Three graduate students from the Donald Bren School of Information and Computer Sciences (ICS) have just received the prestigious National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship (NSF GRFP). Informatics students Oliver Haimson and Van Erick Custodio and statistics student Maricela Cruz join 2,000 students nationwide to be awarded the fellowship in 2015. Informatics student Katherine Lo also received an honorable mention in the highly competitive program. Haimson, Custodio and Cruz contribute to UC Irvine’s 35 total awardees in 2015, while Lo joins an additional 37 honorable mentions across campus.

“I’m very humbled by this award to be included in such great company both present and those that came before,” says Custodio. “My research will greatly benefit from this award in that it gives me the freedom to explore the far reaches of my imagination. Receiving the NSF GRFP award allows me to broadly share the story I have to tell through my research. I am excited about the difference in the world my research can make because of this fellowship. This, I hope, is the first of many signs that my work has potential to contribute to the research community and society at large.”

Founded in 1952, the NSF GRFP provides graduate students in the early stages of their research with three years of support, including a $34,000 annual stipend and a $12,000 cost-of-education allowance to their institution. Fellows enjoy supercomputer access, as well as the opportunity to participate in the Graduate Research Intern Program (GRIP) and the Graduate Research Opportunities Worldwide Program (GROW). Past GRFP recipients have gone on to make significant scientific and engineering breakthroughs, with some even becoming Nobel laureates.