Derek Mull, a first year graduate student in the Jenkins’ Group, received National Science Foundation (NSF) Graduate Research Fellowship Program (GRFP) Fellowship. Mull is one of the three students at the University of Tennessee Knoxville received the GRFP Fellowship this year.
The GRFP recognizes and supports outstanding graduate students in NSF-supported science, technology, engineering, and mathematics disciplines who are pursuing research-based master’s and doctoral degrees at accredited US institutions. Mull was selected because of his “outstanding abilities and accomplishments”, as well as his “potential to contribute to strengthening the vitality of the US science and engineering enterprise”, stated by his award email.
“I was thoroughly surprised and delighted.” Mull said, “I had spent the previous month keeping my hopes down by enumerating the reasons why I probably wouldn’t get it…so it was very much an ‘I can’t believe it’ moment.”
Mull received his BS in chemistry and BS in biology from the University of Toledo, Toledo, Ohio, in 2011. He interned at Oak Ridge National Lab (ORNL) from January to August 2011 through the Higher Education Research Experience program through Oak Ridge Associated Universities (ORAU), before relocating to Los Angeles in September of that year to join the research group of Prof. Omar Yaghi. Prior to commencing his graduate studies at the University of Tennessee, Derek worked in the nonprofit and healthcare sectors in Tampa, FL.