Grad, research assistant awarded NSF Graduate Research Fellowship

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Headshot of Caden Hamrick
Caden Hamrick

MACON — Mercer University graduate and current research assistant Caden Hamrick has been awarded the prestigious, oldest of its kind, NSF Graduate Research Fellowship (GRFP), with a total award value of $159,000.  

GRFP says it recognizes and supports outstanding graduate students who have demonstrated the potential to be high-achieving scientists and engineers, early in their careers. Applicants must be pursuing full-time research-based master’s and doctoral degrees in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) or in STEM education at accredited US institutions.

“I am honored and humbled to be offered this opportunity, and I am eager to begin my studies and research,” said Hamrick.

Hamrick, from Covington, graduated with a computer engineering degree in May 2023 and is currently working full-time as a research assistant in the lab of Dr. Anthony Choi, professor of electrical and computer engineering and director of machine intelligence and robotics.

“Caden is one of the most highly motivated and well-rounded students I have mentored in my 20 years in academia,” said Dr. Choi. “He has shown strong interest in research, particularly in machine learning, natural language processing and human computer interfacing. Advising him has been a delight as he is always ready to accept a challenge and has great dedication to his work.  He has a genuine enthusiasm for learning and research, and I am impressed by his thought-provoking questions that delve into the true nature of the problem rather than the obvious details. During the three years working for me as an undergraduate research assistant and one year as a full-time post-baccalaureate research assistant, he has grown from a mentee to someone who I now consider as a collaborator.” 

Hamrick will be starting his Ph.D. at the University of Utah in the fall, and he said he plans to pursue a career in academia as a professor, with the intent to “focus on providing opportunities for undergraduate research, as Dr. Choi and Dr. McNally, assistant professor of physics, provided for me.”

About the NSF Graduate Research Fellowship Program (GRFP)

The purpose of the NSF GRFP is to help ensure the quality, vitality and diversity of the scientific and engineering workforce of the United States. A goal of the program is to broaden participation of the full spectrum of diverse talents in STEM. The five-year fellowship provides three years of financial support.