ME alum awarded National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship

Payton Goodrich

Mechanical engineering alumnus Payton Goodrich was among four Iowa State students or alumni recently awarded graduate research fellowships from the National Science Foundation.

Goodrich (BSME’15) studied microbial fuel cells and microfluidics in the lab of ME assistant professor Nastaran Hashemi as an undergraduate at Iowa State. He also participated in the Ames Laboratory’s Science Undergraduate Laboratory Internship program, working under Wenyu Huang, an assistant professor in chemistry at ISU. The Minneapolis-native is currently pursuing a PhD in mechanical engineering from the University of California-Berkeley and he attributes his undergraduate research experience as helping him to get where he is today.

“One-hundred percent of where I am now isn’t because of doing what was required to get a B.S. at Iowa State, but rather from what I did that was extra,” said Goodrich. “If you are interested in graduate school, get started as early as possible in a research group that delves into areas that interest you. Take advantage of the opportunities that you have at ISU – there are millions of people around the world that will never have these same opportunities just because of who they are or where they live.”

Goodrich was among 2,000 students and researchers nationwide selected for the Graduate Research Fellowship Program (GRFP) from a pool of more than 13,000 applicants. GRFP provides three years of financial support within a five-year fellowship period: $34,000 annual stipend and $12,000 cost-of-education allowance to the graduate institution. This award will “fund research in developing wireless sensor nodes for monitoring the electric grid and preparing for the forecasted flux of distributed energy resources,” according to Goodrich. He said he was excited when he found out he was receiving this funding.

“I found out the news Friday morning right before heading to volunteer at the local high school, where we’re doing a battery experiment. The immediate reaction was about five seconds of fist pumping as though I were trying to start a lawn mower. This was especially good news for me, because the funding that I was using for my studies were going to run out at the end of this semester and I still hadn’t found alternative funding,” he said.

Other ISU students and alumni to receive this honor include Deon Ploessl (Chemical and Biological Engineering) and Jacob Sporrer (Electrical and Computer Engineering). A researcher from ISU’s biology program was also recognized.

A full list of 2017 recipients is available on FastLane.