Biomedical engineering student wins prestigious graduate research fellowship

  • Graduating senior Jacob Griffith won a prestigious National Science Foundation fellowship to support his upcoming graduate studies.
  • He's one of only 2,000 students in the country to get this award this year.
  • Griffith is a biomedical engineering sudent and will seek his master's at WSU this fall.

Jacob Griffith, a WSU biomedical engineering major receiving his bachelor's degree in May, has been awarded a National Science Foundation (NSF) Graduate Research Fellowship.

The fellowship will support his pursuit of graduate study that leads to a research-based master's or doctoral degree in a STEM field. Griffith plans to seek a master's degree in biomedical engineering at Wichita State.

Griffith was chosen as one of 2,000 in a national competition that drew more than 12,000 applicants. The fellowship provides three years of financial support – a $34,000 annual stipend and $12,000 cost-of-education allowance to the graduate institution.

The NSF Graduate Research Fellowship Program was launched in 1952, shortly after Congress established the NSF. The program is the nation's oldest continuous investment in the U.S. STEM workforce. Its purpose is to recruit high-potential, early-career scientists and engineers as researchers.

Griffith is also a Wallace Scholar – the WSU College of Engineering's most prestigious scholarship competition – and serves as an Engineering Ambassador, representing the college in public events, and as an Undergraduate Peer Partner mentor to first-year engineering students. He is also a member of Tau Beta Pi, the engineering honor society.

Kim Cluff, who employs Griffith in his Biomedical Sensors, Imaging and Modeling Engineering lab, said Griffith already performs at the graduate level and has shown himself to be a creative thinker and a hard worker.

“He is very dedicated and has incredible work ethic – putting in many long hours into the research in addition to his undergraduate studies,” Cluff said.

He called Griffith's role integral to Cluff's own research to develop new wearable biomedical sensors.

Griffith comes from Delphos, Kansas, a town of 400. He said he was initially interested in aerospace engineering and chose Wichita State for that reason, but then switched majors.

“I chose biomedical engineering because of the ability to solve problems in the medical realm through the application of engineering principles,” he said.

Also selected as an NSF fellow was WSU alum Elvin Salerno, who received his bachelor's degree in chemistry from Wichita State in 2017. Salerno is currently pursuing graduate study at the University of Michigan-Ann Arbor.