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Four Carthage alumni recognized in NSF Graduate Research Fellowship Program

By Student Fellowships

April 13, 2021

Congratulations to the four Carthage alumni who were recognized in the National Science Foundation (NSF) Graduate Research Fellowship Program (GRFP) 2021 competition: Amelia Zietlow ’20, Spencer Bingham ’19, Stefanie Huttelmaier ’18, and Hannah Miles ’18.

The NSF fellowship supports exceptional students pursuing research-based master’s and doctoral degrees in science, technology, engineering, and mathematic (STEM) fields at U.S. institutions. Fellowships provide students with financial support and access to opportunities for professional development. Recipients have gone on to become Nobel Prize winners, Nobel laureates, and members of the National Academy of Sciences.

“Our alumni who have been awarded the NSF Graduate Research Fellowship represent some of the most promising young researchers from across STEM disciplines,” says Professor Andrea Henle, who has worked closely with current and past recipients. “While they were students at Carthage, they frequently conducted independent research through academic courses, our SURE program, or through competitive summer research experiences at external institutions. They display the intellectual curiosity and drive to persevere through any challenges that might be thrown their way during the research process.”

Ms. Zietlow, Mr. Bingham, Ms. Huttelmaier were all selected as fellows in the program, and Ms. Miles received honorable mention.

Amelia Zietlow ’20

“I intend to continue and elaborate on my mosasaur work that I did at Carthage by studying big ...While at Carthage, Amelia Zietlow ’20 majored in biology with an emphasis in paleontology. Working under Professor Thomas Carr, she completed an independent study research project, which was published in PeerJ. She also spent two summers as an undergraduate student researching gecko limb development at Marquette University. The first project was funded by NSF Research Experiences for Undergraduates (REU), and the second was funded by Carthage’s Smeds Executive Internship Program. During her undergraduate career, Ms. Zietlow was vice president and co-founder of the Paleontology Club and president of the Rock & Metal Music Club. Her on-campus employment included working as a biology lab assistant, greenhouse lead, and biology tutor. She was also a recipient of the Earl Lambert Achievement Award, Merton Elihu Knisely Scholarship, Paleobiology Achievement Award, Undergraduate Excellence in Paleontology Award, and two faculty honors scholarships.

Currently enrolled in Richard Gilder Graduate School at the American Museum of Natural History in Manhattan, N.Y., Ms. Zietlow is working towards a Doctorate in Comparative Biology, and her specific areas of study are herpetology and vertebrate paleontology. Her current graduate research focuses on mosasaurs — giant, extinct marine lizards that lived during the Late Cretaceous.

Spencer Bingham ’19

Spencer Bingham ’19Spencer Bingham ’19 majored in chemistry and theatre while at Carthage. He participated in environmental chemistry work with Professor Christine Blaine and materials chemistry with Professor John Kirk. After his freshmen and sophomore year, he was accepted into REU programs at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and University of Minnesota, Twin Cities. During his junior year, he received the Smeds Executive Internship from Carthage, which gave him supplemental support while he worked at NASA’s Johnson Space Center. He was an active member and vice president of the Chemistry Club, and member and treasurer of Alpha Psi Omega, the academic theatre fraternity. Being a theatre major meant that he was heavily involved in performances and technical roles. Mr. Bingham also worked as a chemistry lab assistant, an assistant in Todd Wehr Center office, and as a theatre and chemistry fellow. He was a recipient of Math/Science Scholarship and a Chemistry Department Award.

Mr. Bingham is pursuing a Doctorate in Materials Science and Engineering at the University of Minnesota, where he works to develop a technology that remediates water contaminated with mining wastes using different mining wastes.

Stefanie Huttelmaier ’18

Stefanie Huttelmaier ’18Stefanie Huttelmaier ’18, a native of Golden, Colo., double majored in environmental science and biology. At Carthage, she participated in the Phage Hunters Program under the guidance of Professor Deborah Tobiason. One summer, she took part in an NSF REU, which included research in molecular biology and computer science, and was led by Prof. Tobiason and Prof. Mark Mahoney. She also worked with Professor Andrea Henle on a Summer Undergraduate Research Experience (SURE) project and participated in the collection of Pike River water samples and testing for changes in chloride concentration as a consequence of road salt application with Prof. Blaine. As an undergraduate student, Ms. Huttelmaier helped support her peers as a biology and ecology lab assistant and biology fellow. She took second and third place in consecutive years in the Intellectual Foundations Writing Scholarship, and she received a NSF GRFP honorable mentioned in 2018.

Ms. Huttelmaier is a current graduate student in the Environmental Engineering and Sciences PhD Program at Northwestern University in Evanston, Ill. Her fellowship will help support her biological and environmental research in using bacteriophage as process control for biological nitrogen removal in wastewater treatment systems. 

Hannah Miles ’18

Hannah Miles ’18Hannah Miles ’18, who received a GRFP honorable mention, majored in chemistry and minored in biology. At Carthage, she mentored under Prof. Kirk and Prof. Blaine and spent a year before graduate school doing lab research at UIC’s College of Pharmacy in Rockford, Ill. A two-time recipient of the Chemistry Department’s Faculty Honor Scholarship, she contributed to Carthage as a member of Theta Chi Delta, as well as a member and treasurer of the Chemistry Club. Ms. Miles was also a dedicated member of the women’s swimming and diving team. As a student-athlete, she was bestowed the Craig Deaton Award, the Jack Swartz Academic All-Conference Award, and was named Scholar Athlete in 2017 and the Most Valuable Performer in 2018. During her team’s CCIW championship meet in 2018, Ms. Miles was named the CCIW Most Outstanding Participant of the event and helped lead the team to Carthage’s first championship victory in program history. In the 2018 NCAA Championships, she was the only individual in swimming and diving to compete for Carthage. She also worked with Coach Beth DeLaRosby to coordinate a large swim lesson program offered to families within the community.

A current graduate student at the University of Wisconsin-Madison within the School of Pharmacy’s Pharmaceutical Sciences Graduate Program, Ms. Miles is pursuing a Doctorate in Pharmaceutical Sciences within the lab of Professor Lingjun Li, a well-renowned scientist who specializes in the utilization of mass spectrometry. Her current research focuses on the use of mass spectrometry to understand the molecular details underlying prostate cancer.

“That Carthage has had several alumni receive GRFP awards (or honorable mentions) in recent years speaks highly of the College’s ability to prepare students who are well-versed in scientific thought, are leaders in research and teaching, and can identify research questions and problems that need to be tackled for the benefit of society,” says Prof. Henle.

View past Carthage NSF GRFP recipients