First-year M.A./Ph.D. student accepted as NSF Graduate Research Fellow

Nate TeGrotenhuisAs a first-year M.A./Ph.D. student, Nate TeGrotenhuis was accepted into the National Science Foundation (NSF) Graduate Research Fellowship Program (GRFP), which “helps ensure the vitality of the human resource base of science and engineering in the United States and reinforces its diversity.”

“I wanted to apply for the fellowship because it is an amazing opportunity,” TeGrotenhuis said. “It covers my tuition so I will gain a lot of freedom to focus on the research projects that interest me the most.”

GRFP fellows benefit from a three-year annual stipend of $34,000 along with a $12,000 cost of education allowance for tuition and fees, and opportunities for international research and professional development.

“This will allow me to devote more energy to my own research projects and hopefully improve my publications and thesis,” TeGrotenhuis said. “The fellowship is also a significant honor in its own right for someone so early in their academic career. I think it will open doors to future opportunities and collaborations.”

TeGrotenhuis says he is motivated by the potential that Online peer-production communities have shown to create new ways of organizing work.

“These are communities that produce important and complex public goods like Wikipedia and the GNU/Linux operating system,” he said. “In my fellowship application I proposed extending the sociological theory of organizational ecology to study competition and synergy between communities. I think that this line of inquiry will help us understand differences between peer-production communities and more traditional organizational modes.”

TeGrotenhuis hopes findings from his research will be applied by communities and organizers in helpful ways, and wants to thank Dr. Mako Hill for advising him to apply to the fellowship and giving him multiple rounds of useful feedback on the application.

According to the website, NSF Fellows are anticipated to become knowledge experts who can contribute significantly to research, teaching, and innovations in science and engineering – a crucial piece to maintaining and advancing the nation’s technological infrastructure and national security as well as contributing to the economic well-being of society at large.

“The fellowship covers a broad range of scientific research in both the natural and social sciences,” TeGrotenhuis said. “I think that all first-year and incoming graduate students in our program who do social-scientific work should consider applying for it.”