NSF rankings reflect increased number of Whitman graduates earning PhDs in science and engineering

May 2, 2013

Gillian Frew '11

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A new report by the National Science Foundation reveals that more Whitman graduates are earning doctorates in science and engineering now than in 2008, the year the last report was released.

Published by the National Center for Science and Engineering Statistics, the report ranks the top 50 colleges by baccalaureate origins of science and engineering doctorate recipients in the U.S. In the current report, Whitman ranks 20th among national liberal arts colleges, up from 27th in 2008, and 36th overall, up from 47th.

Whitman graduates received 193 PhDs between 2002 and 2011, a rate of 6.3 doctorates per 100 bachelor's degrees earned.

In addition, three Whitman graduates were awarded NSF Graduate Research Fellowships this year, and two received honorable mentions. The fellowship provides $45,000 per year for three years of research-based graduate study in the field of science, technology, engineering or mathematics.

"Our success with NSF graduate fellowships has increased significantly in the past ten years," said Rachna Sinnott, director of foundation and corporate relations. "Between 1996 and 2001, only three Whitman graduates received NSF graduate fellowships. Since then, we have had between two and four recipients each year."

Recent recipients of the fellowship include:

2012-13 Brandon Fennell '11 (chemical synthesis, Stanford University) Nat Clarke '11 (developmental biology, Stanford University) Megan McConville '07 (environmental chemical systems, University of Wisconsin)

2011-12 Noah Bronstein '08 (chemistry, University of California, Berkeley) Kathleen Compton '08 (geosciences, University of Arizona) Emily Davis '08 (ecology, University of Washington)

2010-11 Aaron David '08 (ecology, University of California, Davis) Brandon Nickerson '06 (wildlife science, Oregon State University)

2009-10 Tamara Carley '08 (petrology, Vanderbilt University) Bridget Kustin '05 (cultural anthropology, Johns Hopkins University)