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UH Mechanical Engineering Student Claims National NASA Fellowship

By: 

Brian Allen

University of Houston engineering student Sandy Geffert has been named one of 20 national recipients of the Harriett G. Jenkins Pre-doctoral Fellowship Program from NASA. Geffert is a doctoral student in the mechanical engineering department, and has been working on NASA projects for several years with associate professor Stanley Kleis.

“Receiving the NASA fellowship is a great honor and I am truly thankful. The award will give me more time to focus on my research,” says Sandy. “My recent work has been in the development of a miniature cell culture system. Recent advancements in the field of microfluidics have generated much interest in the advent of a miniaturized cell culture device which could be integrated with microfluidic analytical devices or other diagnostic tools. The development of a miniature culture system would enhance cell research capabilities in remote locations by increasing the number of cell science experiments on the International Space Station or, more importantly, in free flyers.”

The fellowship provides full-time graduate students who are also underrepresented in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) with financial support for their education in NASA-related disciplines. Students are selected for fellowship awards that include financial support and hands-on research experience at a NASA Center or the Jet Propulsion Laboratory.

Fellowship tenure is three years for candidates seeking either a master’s or Ph.D. degree in the NASA-related fields. The fellowship serves students who are matriculating at any accredited U.S. university or college, and engaging in NASA-related disciplines. The mission of the fellowship is to increase the number of women, minorities, and persons with disabilities participating in and receiving degrees in STEM disciplines.

“With stipends and tuition offsets included, my award package totals roughly $96,000 over three years,” Geffert says.

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