Several University of Wisconsin graduate students were recently awarded 2016 National Science Foundation fellowships, which recognized their excellence in science, technology and engineering.

Every year the NSF awards fellowships to help graduate student leaders advance in science and engineering research and innovation. This year NSF awarded 2,000 fellowships to students across the U.S., nine of which were given to UW student researchers.

Among these graduate students were Tom Sobyra, Lianna Dang and Jordan Buhle.

Sobyra, a graduate student in the chemistry department, graduated Illinois Wesleyan University with a double major in computer sciences and chemistry.

His research at UW focuses on the intermixing of gas and liquid. In his lab, they investigate how gas molecules react with liquids and atmospheric aerosols important in industry, according to his research group statement.

Sobyra said the fellowship pays for his education and gives more of a “free reign” on his current research and is paying for him to receive his education and continue his work.

Jordan Buhle is a chemistry graduate student who attended undergrad at Ripon College.

Buhle’s research focuses on chemical catalysts.

The research Buhle is currently conducting in electrochemical methods is important and used broadly, from sustainable energy applications to the synthesis of pharmaceuticals, Buhle explained.

“Receiving the NSF fellowship provides me with a lot of freedom in the research challenges I will address during my time here at UW-Madison,” Buhle said.

Lianna Dang received her undergraduate degree in chemistry from the University of Kansas. She is currently on the materials path in the Chemistry Ph.D. program at UW.

Dang’s research at UW focuses on the splitting of water in hydrogen and oxygen gas.

More energy is wasted producing oxygen from water than by producing hydrogen, Dang explained. So Dang’s work also focuses on cheaper metal-containing oxygen evolution catalysts.

Dang said she is excited to receive the NSF fellowship, which will allow her to spend more time on her research instead of teaching.

Other NSF recipients included Brian Cary, Kirandeep Deol, Sarah Guillot, Caitlin Kozack, Chase Salazar and Hillary Mitchell Warden, according a UW Department of Chemistry statement.

Amanda Buchberger also received a fellowship from the National Institutes of Health.