Edwards, Grosvenor, Young Receive NSF Graduate Fellowships

One former and two current students of UMD mechanical engineering assistant professor Ryan Sochol have been selected for the National Science Foundation (NSF) Graduate Research Fellowship Program (GFRP)—one of the highest honors for U.S. doctoral students.

Photo of Kristen EdwardsKristen Edwards, who earned her B.S. in mechanical engineering at UMD in 2020, is now pursuing her doctorate at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. The recipient of numerous awards and honors, Edwards played a key role in a breakthrough in “soft robotics” while at UMD.  Notably, Sochol and his students—including Edwards—published a cover article in Science Advances in which they 3D printed a soft robotic hand and programmed it to successfully complete the first round of Nintendo’s Super Mario Bros.  Her doctoral research focuses on machine learning and AI in the lab of Prof. Faez Ahmed, who obtained his Ph.D. in UMD mechanical engineering associate professor Mark Fuge's group.


A photo of Eleonora GrosvenorEleanor Grosvenor, a fourth-year undergraduate student in materials science engineering, is a member of Sochol’s Bioinspired Advanced Manufacturing (BAM) Lab, where her work centers on 3D nanoprinting microcapsules for long-acting drug delivery. The project is being conducted in collaboration with the University of Maryland-Baltimore’s School of Pharmacy and a local start-up, InfraTrac, LLC.  Grosvenor also works on a Center for Engineering Concepts Development (CECD)-funded project for COVID-19 surgical devices with UMB ENTs. Eleanor will be pursuing her doctorate at Northwestern University—Prof. Sochol’s alma matter—starting in the Fall.


A photo of Olivia Young

Olivia Young, a second-year Ph.D. student in mechanical engineering, works on a CECD-funded project researching the use of 3D nanoprinting to build soft robotic neurosurgical catheters in collaboration with Prof. Mark Fuge and researchers and surgeons at Johns Hopkins University and the University of Maryland School of Medicine. She has previously been selected for UMD's Flagship Fellowship as well as the Clark Doctoral Fellows Program, and was also recently selected for the Maryland Robotics Center at UMD.  Her proposal for the NSF GRFP centers on developing new paradigm to 3D-nanoprinted soft robotic microcatheters for minimally invasive surgical procedures.

“Kristen, Eleanor, and Olivia are all continuing to make their marks across scientific fields including machine learning and AI, advanced manufacturing, and medical robotics,” Sochol said.  “With the creative and intellectual freedom afforded by the NSF GRFP, their research will directly advance a diversity of emerging applications, and we’re absolutely thrilled to celebrate their well-deserved success!” 

Published April 25, 2022