Cornell student receives National Science Foundation Fellowship

MOUNT VERNON–Julia Kamenetzky, a Cornell College senior from Bettendorf, Iowa, has received a Graduate Research Fellowship from the National Science Foundation in astronomy and astrophysics. The NSF fellowship provides three years of funding, up to $121,500.

Julia KamenetzkyThe NSF awards approximately 1,100 Graduate Research Fellowships annually, of which only about 17 were awarded in the area of astronomy and astrophysics.

Kamenetzky, a physics major, plans a research career that will also focus on science outreach and education. She plans to pursue her doctorate in astrophysics, and eventually teach physics and astronomy.

“This award gives me a lot of freedom in my research and my studies, and allows me to pursue almost any path I choose,” said Kamenetzky. “I’m very excited, it’s a big honor.”

Kamenetzky is a rising star in astrophysics. In 2007, she was awarded one of 317 Goldwater Scholarships, the premier undergraduate award in science, mathematics and engineering.

Kamenetzky won the award based in part on a proposal to study the massive star Eta Carine after studying the Carine nebula with the Cornell University Research Experience for Undergraduates program through the NSF. Over the summer of 2007, Kamenetzky examined data used to determine the chemical makeup and other physical properties of the nebula.

“Julia has taken the initiative to make the most of her education throughout her time at Cornell. I’m very proud of her,” said Associate Professor of Physics Kara Beauchamp. “The NSF fellowship is a strong endorsement of her abilities and potential as a scientist.”

Her campus activities include New Student Orientation, as a peer advocate and orientation leader; Cornell Orchestra and the student-faculty chamber ensemble Collegium Musicum, as a violinist; and Dark Purple, a student organization that coordinates late-night programming on campus, as chair. She is also a member of Phi Beta Kappa, Cornell’s Judicial Board and Pandemonium, the Cornell steel drum band.

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