N.C. A&T Student Wins NSF Fellowship

Kris Wiedenheft, a senior in mechanical engineering, has been awarded a National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship.

The NSF fellowship recognizes and supports outstanding graduate students in NSF‐supported science, technology, engineering, and mathematics disciplines who pursue research‐based master's and doctoral degrees in the United States.

NSF received over 16,000 applications for the 2015 competition and made 2,000 fellowship award offers.

Wiedenheft will use her award to pursue a Ph.D. in mechanical engineering at Duke University. “The financial aspect of this award will enable me to pursue my doctoral studies,” she said.

The NSF fellowship is renewable for up to three years and covers up to $12,000 in tuition and fees. It also provides the student with a $34,000 annual stipend.

She acknowledged the role of her fellow students as well as her professors in her success.

“I am grateful to Dr. John Kizito and all of my professors for pushing me to achieve excellence and equipping me to step into this next phase of my life,” Wiedenheft said.

“What I know for sure is that success does not happen in a vacuum. I learned that during my first semester here, which was really tough. Then several of my fellow students reached out to me and invited me to join their study groups. That was my first introduction to the community here at A&T and the sense that we’re all in this together. I think it's just part of being an Aggie.”

While at A&T, Wiedenheft also has received the Goldwater Scholarship and the Buick Achievers Scholarship, among other awards. She has performed research in fluid mechanics with Kizito, associate professor of mechanical engineering. She received funding for her research from NASA, the N.C. Space Grant program and the N.C. Louis Stokes Alliance for Minority Participation.

“Kris is truly an outstanding example of the quality of engineers that A&T produces,” said Anna Whiteside, scholarship and fellowship coordinator for the A&T Honors Program.

Wiedenheft is originally from Connecticut. She earned an associate’s degree in engineering science at Hudson Valley Community College in Troy, New York. Before transferring to A&T, she worked as a mechanical technician at the research and development facility of Prestone Products.