MSE Ph.D. Student Daniela Fontecha Receives NSF Fellowship Award

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Daniela Fontecha, a first year Ph.D. student in the University of Maryland (UMD) Department of Materials Science and Engineering, is the recipient of the 2021 National Science Foundation (NSF) Graduate Research Fellowship Program (GRFP).

Fontecha came to UMD via North Carolina State University where she received a bachelor of arts degree in physics and a bachelor of science degree in chemistry.

"During my time as an undergrad, I was very interested in photovoltaics research, which was the start of my motivation to focus my career towards sustainable materials," she said. "I shifted gears to energy storage and battery materials after a research experience I had in Japan where I learned from many students who were working on batteries and fuel cells. When looking for interesting research for graduate school, I didn't find the focus I wanted in chemistry programs, so I decided to switch my focus to materials science to better match my interests."

Fontecha is currently working on developing a plasma enhanced atomic layer deposition process for sodium phosphorus oxynitride as a solid state ionic conductor. Fontecha, advised by MSE Distinguished University Professor, Gary Rubloff, is expected to graduate in spring 2024.

The NSF GRFP offers three years of support with a $34,000 per year stipend, and covers tuition during that time, too. For additional information on this award, please visit

Published May 7, 2021