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15 June 2007
NSF Awards Prestigious IGERT Fellowship
to Kristin Williams - JSU Spring 2007 Graduate

Kristen Williams

JSU graduate of the Spring Class of 2007, Kristin Williams has been awarded the prestigious IGERT (Integrative Graduate Education and Research Traineeship) fellowship designed for students interested in pursuing a graduate degree in the sciences, mathematics, engineering or technology. The IGERT program seeks to train Ph.D scientists and engineers with the interdisciplinary background and the technical, professional and personal skills needed to address the global questions of the future. Through the use of innovative curricula and internships, and by focusing on problem-centered training, these programs give their graduates the edge needed to become leaders in their chosen fields. The program is funded by the National Science Foundation (NSF).

As an undergraduate student, Kristin completed a Research Experience for Undergraduates (REU) program also funded by NSF. This program offers research opportunities for undergraduate students through its REU Sites program. An REU Site consists of a group of ten or so undergraduates who work in the research programs of the host institution. Each student is associated with a specific research project, where he/she works closely with the faculty and other researchers. Students are granted stipends and, in many cases, assistance with housing and travel. Kristin attended the REU Site at Texas A&M University. This is a 10-week summer program where students are given the opportunity to perform scientific research alongside faculty mentors and conduct an independent research project in the fields of chemistry and surface science.

Kristin will enter the NSF-IGERT Interdisciplinary Graduate Program at Texas A&M University this fall. The focus is Next-generation Computational and Analytical Tools for Materials Science. Research themes include design of new materials by nanofabrication, incorporating multiple functionalities, as well as the development of new ways to analyze large-scale materials behavior by incorporating knowledge of atomic- and nanometer-scale properties. The program draws upon the cutting-edge materials research and expertise in multiscale modeling and computational methodology at Texas A&M University and partner institutions. Kristin has been awarded a full academic fellowship, including travel expenses, having qualified as one of the selected students interested in Ph.D. research in this area.

Dr. Nouredine Zettili,  Professor of Physics, Department of Physical and Earth Sciences, Jacksonville State University, speaks highly of Kristen's academic achievements. In Dr. Zettili's words:

Kristen is the kind of student who doesn’t settle for less; she always strives to perfect her homework assignments and lab reports. Her solutions--in a number of physics courses she took with me--were neat and concise. In short, she has a sharp mind and has an excellent talent for sciences. Kristen is the kind of student I would not hesitate for a moment to recommend to the most challenging graduate programs in the nation. She is endowed with enough intellectual abilities and determination to succeed in any doctoral program. She is aiming high, and her mind is locked on a bright and highly accomplishing scientific career. Kris will be an effective ambassador to publicize JSU's academic standards and achievements of its graduates.

Kristin graduated magna cum laude with a Bachelor of Science degree in Mathematics and Special Honors in Chemistry in the Spring 2007 class at Jacksonville State University, Jacksonville, AL. In addition to her academic studies, Kristin has served as a Teaching Assistant of mathematics for the past two years at the Donoho Middle School in Anniston, Alabama. She graduated from Talladega High School, Talladega, AL, her hometown. She is the daughter of Tim and Sally Smith, of Talladega, AL, and is married to Matt Williams. The couple has a 3-year-old daughter, Kaitlyn.

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