Senior Honors student wins National Science Foundation (NSF) Graduate Research Fellowship

Kyle Martin

YPSILANTI — The National Science Foundation (NSF) has awarded senior honors environmental science major Kyle Martin a Graduate Research Fellowship. The NSF Graduate Research Fellowship Program (GRFP), one of the most prestigious science scholarships in the U.S., provides annual funding of $37,000 for three years for outstanding graduate students who are pursuing research in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM). 

The Foundation receives roughly 12,000 applications annually and approximately 2,000 of those applicants receive awards. Martin is the first athlete from EMU to receive this award and the fifth recipient overall from the university.

Martin began writing his application during the summer of 2023. He worked extensively on the required essays and research statements, making over thirty revisions by the October deadline. Martin looks forward to continuing his educational journey without having to worry about financial constraints. 

“During undergrad, I was focused on financially supporting myself by working two or three jobs and building my resume through participating in extracurricular activities," he said. "The NSF fellowship will allow me to make my education my number one priority without the burden of carrying financial strain." 

Participating in the NSF GRFP competition enabled Martin to expand his intellectual community by giving him access to an extensive network of like-minded individuals who value higher education. The program allows Martin to be the best he can be and affirms that he belongs in the field of environmental science. 

“Winning the NSF was not just about me. It was a win for the whole community because of the collaborative efforts,” he said. “Many individuals were involved in my professional development at EMU. Two of my biggest mentors were Dr. Ann Eisenberg and Dr. Katherine Greenwald. Dr. Greenwald taught me about the different elements of research and how diverse ecology is while Dr. Eisenberg reviewed my essays and provided valuable feedback.”

Greenwald, a professor of biology and environmental science, sees Martin as a natural leader who is passionate about his areas of interest. 

“Kyle is a truly exceptional student," Greenwald said. "He is innately curious and immensely determined, as evidenced by his challenging program of study. His research involvement has demonstrated excellent critical thinking skills and strong self-motivation. Across the board, he has demonstrated an exceptional degree of initiative, persistence, and dedication, and perhaps the strongest work ethic I have ever observed in any student. I have no doubt that Kyle will succeed in graduate school and beyond. He is already working at a level that I would be pleased to see in a graduate student, so I believe his future potential is unlimited."

Martin also recently earned the Dr. L. David Mech National Wolf Fellowship, which will take him to Idaho for the summer of 2024 to study wolf populations. The International Wolf Center awards two fellowships each year to students interested in pursuing careers in natural sciences with a concentration in wildlife. Fellows receive a $6,000 stipend and up to $4,000 for field research expenses. 

Martin has built an extensive portfolio throughout his time at EMU, as he won EMU’s Glenna Frank Miller Collegiate Award for Leadership, captained the track and field team for three years, served as a lead student fellow in the Honors College, participated on the executive committee of the Sierra Club Huron Valley Group, and worked with the Huron River Watershed Council (HWRC) to develop the School of Green, an environmental summer camp for local schoolchildren. 

Although Martin has not yet decided where he will take his NSF Graduate Research Fellowship, he has been admitted to graduate programs in wildlife ecology at Texas A&M, the University of Michigan, the University of Idaho, and the University of Arizona. 


About Eastern Michigan University
Founded in 1849, Eastern is the second oldest public university in Michigan. It currently serves more than 13,000 students pursuing undergraduate, graduate, specialist, doctoral and certificate degrees in the arts, sciences and professions. In all, more than 300 majors, minors and concentrations are delivered through the University's Colleges of Arts and Sciences; Business; Education; Engineering and Technology; Health and Human Services; and its graduate school. National publications regularly recognize EMU for its excellence, diversity, and commitment to applied education. Visit the University’s rankings and points of pride websites to learn more. For more information about Eastern Michigan University, visit the University's website. To stay up to date on University news, activities and announcements, visit EMU Today.

April 10, 2024

Written by:
Brooke Whittaker

Media Contact:
Melissa Thrasher