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Hunter Students Win Coveted NSF Fellowships

Three graduating seniors and one alumna from Hunter College have been awarded National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowships for work toward their master's or doctoral degrees. Vivienne Baldassare, Vincent Xue, Jimena Santillan and recent graduate Carolina Salguero will each receive up to $121,500 for three years of advanced study in NSF-supported science, technology, engineering, and mathematics disciplines. In addition, two Hunter students came away with honorable mentions, making it a banner year for Hunter.

In awarding the Fellowships, the NSF noted that this program "helps ensure the vitality of the human resource base of science and engineering in the United States and reinforces its diversity."

A physics major in the Macaulay Honors College at Hunter, Baldassare is a McNulty Scholar who has been studying brown dwarfs -- star-like objects that don't have an energy source in their core, like stars do. She is working to confirm the ages of suspected young brown dwarfs, which will help understand how brown dwarfs evolve over time. She is heading to the University of Michigan in the fall to study astronomy and astrophysics.

Xue, also a Macaulay Honors College student, is a computer science major and has worked in Hunter research laboratories since his freshman year. He participated in MIT's summer 2010 research program in quantitative biology and interned at the European Bioinformatics Institution in Cambridge, and will be attending MIT in the fall.

Santillan is a senior majoring in psychology and Interdisciplinary Honors in the Thomas Hunter Honors Program. In her junior year, she was a NIMH-COR program scholar, a National Institute of Mental Health program that provides underrepresented students with professional development and research training in psychology. She participates in the BP-ENDURE program which offers training in neuroscience, specialized course work, mentoring and summer research opportunities for students wishing to pursue careers in neuroscience. Santillan will study cognitive neuroscience as a "Promising Scholar" at the University of Oregon this fall

Salguero, who graduated in June with a double major in biochemistry and economics, was the recipient of a Jonas Salk scholarship, CUNY's highest science honor. She is now at Harvard pursuing a PhD in molecular and cell biology.

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