One Alum Wins NSF-GRFP Award, Two Earn Honorable MentionsThree members of the Gustavus Class of 2020 were recognized by the National Science Foundation in support of their research endeavors.
Posted on April 19th, 2022 by

Devin Makey '20 in his lab at the University of Michigan.

by Harriet Anderson ’25

Gustavus Adolphus College alumnus Devin Makey has been named a National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship Program (NSF-GRFP) honoree, joining past fellows including Nobel Prize winners, former U.S. Secretary of Energy Steven Chu, Google founder Sergey Brin, and Freakonomics co-author Steven Levitt.

Makey, a 2020 chemistry graduate from Gustavus, is now doing graduate work at the University of Michigan, pursuing a PhD in analytical chemistry. The NSF-GRFP will support his graduate work with an annual stipend of $34,000 for three years along with a $12,000 annual allowance for tuition costs and academic expenses.

“The small class sizes at Gustavus helped me attain a more personalized education. During graduate school this has allowed me to ask difficult scientific questions and go back to the first principles that I learned at Gustavus to understand what is happening on a fundamental level,” said Makey, who was a member of chemistry professor Amanda Nienow’s laboratory throughout his time at Gustavus.

“Devin was very hardworking and diligent. He never missed class, always had his work done on time, and was invested in the material.” Nienow said. “Devin was a tremendous help in establishing a new outreach program started his senior year—Chemistry Night, an outreach for high school students to come to Gustavus and learn about chemistry and instrumentation in detail.”

Makey also did on-campus lab research with Dwight Stoll all four years at Gustavus. “The Stoll Group is doing some of the most cutting-edge research in two-dimensional liquid chromatography in the world, and it is amazing to think about how this work is being done at a solely undergraduate institution,” Makey said. “The hands-on research experience that I gained in the Stoll Group, along with the opportunity to present and publish my work both on and off campus, gave me the tools needed to be productive in graduate school right from the start.”

“Devin has a lot of admirable qualities. But, the two that set him apart from many students are: 1) his ability to follow and implement a complex technical experimental plan and solve problems along the way; and 2) the ability to do so with very few mistakes. Taken together, these qualities enable Devin to make rapid progress toward understanding complex scientific questions,” said Stoll.

Makey also found a passion for music at Gustavus.

Music taught me the benefits of collaboration, which is incredibly important in science. Having a research team with people from many diverse backgrounds will introduce a wider spectrum of creativity and perspective, which ultimately allows you to accomplish more impactful goals,” said Makey. “All of my friends and professors in music were huge influences during my time at Gustavus. It was great to be supported outside of the chemistry department. In addition, seeing what Gustavus musicians were accomplishing motivated me to work even harder in chemistry.”

In addition to Makey’s award, two recent alumni, Abby Trouth ‘20 and Haley Moran ‘20, earned NSF-GRFP honorable mentions. Trouth, a Gustavus biochemistry and molecular biology graduate, received the honorable mention in biophysics from the University of Colorado. Moran received the honorable mention in biophysics to support her work at Johns Hopkins.

More information about how the Gustavus Fellowships Office supports students is available on the Gustavus website.

The NSF Graduate Research Fellowship Program (GRFP) helps ensure the vitality of the human resource base of science and engineering in the United States and reinforces its diversity. The program 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 United States institutions.


Media Contact: Director of Media Relations and Internal Communication Luc Hatlestad


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