Robin Dunn ’16 joined a select group of the nation’s mathematics students when she won a National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship, one of the most coveted graduate grants in the sciences.
Dunn was one of 2,000 students from among 17,000 applicants to earn the award recently and one of just 19 statistics students. The three-year fellowship provides an annual stipend of $34,000 and $12,000 in education-related expenses.
“The fellowship supports graduate students as they begin their research careers,” said Dunn of Dublin, Ohio. “It will give me more independence and flexibility in my research.”
Dunn will pursue her graduate studies this fall at Carnegie Mellon University, where she will continue to investigate the development of a modified methodology for record linkage, a means of combing information that refers to the same person or entity across a variety of computerized files. “The census bureau uses record linkage pretty extensively, and another common application is for medical records,” Dunn said.
A mathematics major with a concentration in scientific computing, Dunn received a Goldwater Scholarship last year — one of the most prestigious undergraduate awards in the sciences — for her research on a formula to improve a model to predict the price of stock options. This year, she received the Gertrude M. Cox Scholarship, a nationwide award given annually to two women who are admitted to full-time graduate statistics programs.
A data analysis class taught by Brad Hartlaub, professor of mathematics and statistics and associate provost, sparked her interest in statistics. She cited Hartlaub; her faculty advisor, Professor of Mathematics Carol Schumacher; and Brian Jones, associate professor of mathematics, as mentors who nurtured her research skills.
“All the stat courses in Kenyon’s math department involved creative analysis projects that gave me research experience,” she said. “The math department is a very supportive community with incredibly talented faculty and students. There’s a powerful collaborative energy among math majors.”
Kenyon’s emphasis on writing throughout the curriculum helped her nab both the Goldwater Scholarship and the National Science Foundation fellowship. “The main components for both awards were written research proposals, so the writing I did in my math courses was great experience for writing these proposals.”