Rochester Senior Awarded Prestigious National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship

May 4, 2009

David Borrelli

April 2009 David Borrelli, a senior majoring in chemical engineering with minors in math, chemistry, and materials science at the University of Rochester, has been named a 2009 National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellow and will advance his studies at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology this fall. Borrelli is the fifth University of Rochester student to receive such a fellowship since 2005 and will receive three years of funding to complete a doctoral degree in chemical engineering. The prestigious fellowship, offered this year to 950 students out of a national pool of more than 8,000 applicants, recognizes outstanding students who are pursuing research-based degrees in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics.

For Borrelli, a native of Webster, N.Y., the NSF fellowship offers flexibility when deciding his academic path. "The NSF fellowship gives me the freedom to choose a project and advisor at MIT," said Borrelli. "Energy-related research is very interdisciplinary and I look forward to exploring the wide range of these projects both inside chemical engineering as well as in other departments."

At the University of Rochester, sustainability was at the forefront of Borrelli's interests. He served as vice president of the University's chapter of Engineers for a Sustainable World. He also is a co-founder of UR Biodiesel, a student-led project designed to use waste vegetable oil from campus dining facilities and convert it into biodiesel for University shuttle buses. The concept earned a second place finish in the 2007 Charles and Janet Forbes Entrepreneurial Competition.

Borrelli is a member of Tau Beta Pi Engineering Honor Society and was elected to Phi Beta Kappa in his junior year. He has spent the past three summers in research programs, most recently working in the General Motors' Fuel Cell Activities Research Center in Honeoye Falls. In addition to experience in the lab, he was active in the classroom, serving as a teaching assistant in five courses over four semesters in the mathematics and engineering departments.

The NSF Graduate Research Fellowship Program is the nation's oldest graduate program that directly supports graduate students in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics. Since 1952, the NSF has provided funding to more than 43,000 fellowships. NSF fellows are chosen for their ability to contribute to research, teaching, and innovations in science and engineering.

Contact: Melissa Greco Lopes