Michelle Maiden, ’14, was recently awarded a 2015 National Science Foundation (NSF) Graduate Research Fellowship. Maiden, a Meredith Legacy Scholar, earned a Bachelor of Science in mathematics and a Bachelor of Arts in chemistry at Meredith and is now pursuing her Ph.D. in applied mathematics at the University of Colorado at Boulder.
NSF received over 16,000 applications for the 2015 competition and made 2,000 fellowship award offers. Maiden was one of 10 graduate students selected to conduct research on applied mathematics. Reviewers of her NSF Fellowship application specifically cited her “multidisciplinary background and participation in outreach” as strengths.
Maiden got her first taste of research at Meredith when she took charge as a student lead on a chemistry research project. She went on to conduct other research projects and shared her passion for STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) education as a volunteer for TechnoQuest for the Girl Scouts of America and with Meredith students through Science Fest, an event coordinated by the College’s chapter of the American Chemical Society.
Maiden feels strongly that experts in STEM fields have a responsibility to effectively communicate complex information. “My belief that there are important benefits to all parties when scientific understandings and advancements are broadly understood has motivated me to work in science outreach,” said Maiden.
She is looking forward to continued growth as a researcher as she completes her fellowship.
“What excites me most about the NSF program is that it will allow me to realize the goals I have for myself now, but will also propel me to new goals as I gain more knowledge of my discipline and more experience as a researcher,” she said.
Maiden is the third Meredith alumna in four years to receive an NSF Graduate Research Fellowship. Kaley Hake, ’12, received a fellowship in 2012, and Zeenat Razvi, ’13, a Meredith Legacy Scholar like Maiden, was awarded a fellowship in 2014. These women are in impressive company. Past fellows include numerous Nobel Prize winners, Google founder Sergey Brin, and Freakonomics co-author Steven Levitt.