Faculty Recruiting Support CICS

Two CICS Students Awarded Prestigious National Science Foundation Graduate Research Program Fellowships

Julian Killingback, Renos Zabounidis
Julian Killingback, Renos Zabounidis

Two students graduating from the Manning College of Information and Computer Sciences (CICS) at UMass Amherst, Julian Killingback ‘22MS and Renos Zabounidis '22BS, have recently been awarded National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowships (NSF GRFP).

These highly competitive five-year fellowships provide students pursuing research-based master’s and doctoral degrees in STEM disciplines at accredited U.S. institutions with three years of financial support, including an annual stipend and a cost of education allowance to the institution. The total award is valued at $138,000.

Killingback, who is currently finishing his master’s thesis under CICS Assistant Professor Hamed Zamani, will join the CICS Center for Intelligent Information Retrieval as a doctoral student this fall. His research spans a variety of subjects, including information retrieval, natural language processing, and self-supervised learning. Killingback has also worked at the UMass Laboratory for Mobile Sensing and Ubiquitous Computing as a researcher on self-supervised learning for sensor data.

Zabounidis, a computer science and mathematics major, will join the Robotics Institute at Carnegie Mellon University. He is currently a researcher in the Information Fusion Lab, led by Assistant Professor Ina Fiterau. His research focuses on developing interpretable multi-agent reinforcement learning algorithms. Zabounidis is the recipient of a 2021 Goldwater Scholarship and was named a Spring 2021 UMass Amherst Rising Researcher. 

As the oldest graduate fellowship of its kind, the GRFP has a long history of selecting recipients who achieve high levels of success in their future academic and professional careers. Past fellows include numerous Nobel Prize winners, former U.S. Secretary of Energy Steven Chu, Google founder Sergey Brin and Freakonomics co-author Steven Levitt.

Undergraduate students who plan to attend graduate school starting in Fall 2023 and graduate students in the first or second year of their program at the time of application, working in NSF-supported STEM disciplines, may be eligible to apply for the NSF Graduate Research Fellowship. More information about the program is available on NSF’s Graduate Research Fellowship Program website.

UMass’s Graduate School Office of Professional Development offers workshops and writing support for NSF Fellowship applicants. Faculty or students may contact Heidi Bauer-Clapp for more information.