STILLWATER, Okla. – The traditional academic track typically follows the standard bachelor’s to master’s to doctorate degree pattern. However, that is not the case for one student in Oklahoma State University’s Division of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources.
OSU Biosystems and Agricultural Engineering student selected for National Science Foundation fellowship

Christian Ley

Christian Ley, from Broken Arrow, Oklahoma, is skipping step two of the traditional process thanks to the National Science Foundation’s Graduate Research Fellowship Program. Immediately after walking across the stage and earning her bachelor’s degree from OSU’s Department Biosystems and Agricultural Engineering, Ley is off to Purdue University to work toward her Ph.D. in environmental and ecological engineering.

“It’s not very common for undergraduates to receive the award, so I was surprised I actually got it,” she said. “Almost every year I’ve been here at OSU I’ve been involved in an undergraduate research program, so I feel very prepared to start a Ph.D.”

Ley was one of 2,000 selected for this highly competitive annual NSF program, which drew more than 13,000 applicants this year. Fellows receive a three-year annual stipend of $34,000 along with a $12,000 cost of education allowance for tuition and fees, opportunities for international research and professional development, and the freedom to conduct their own research at any accredited U.S. institution of graduate education they choose.

“Christian exemplifies the qualities of the all-around scholar in the [OSU] Department of Biosystems and Agricultural Engineering,” said John Veenstra, BAE department head. “Christian worked with Dr. Nurhan Dunford for 3 years on research projects utilizing algae for treating wastewater and has generated award-winning presentations from her work, which is an indication of the great research work being done by BAE students.”

Ley will examine the safety of municipal water systems and work to develop biosensors for waterborne pathogens while at Purdue. The GRFP has a storied history of selecting recipients who achieve high levels of success in their future academic and professional careers.

“This unique program has nurtured economic innovation and leadership in the U.S. continuously since 1952 by recruiting and supporting outstanding students with high potential in science, technology, engineering and mathematics very early in their graduate training,” said Jim Lewis, NSF acting assistant director for Education and Human Resources. “These talented individuals have gone on to make important discoveries, win Nobel Prizes, train many generations of American scientists and engineers and create inventions that improve our lives.”


Sean Hubbard
Communications Specialist
Agricultural Communications Services
157 Agriculture North
Oklahoma State University
Stillwater, OK 74078
Phone: 405-744-4490
Fax: 405-744-5739