Runge receives prestigious NSF Graduate Research Fellowship

April 26, 2023

Brooke Runge
Brooke Runge

Brooke Runge, who is completing her master’s degree in electrical engineering in May, has been selected to receive a 2023 National Science Foundation (NSF) Graduate Research Fellowship.

The highly selective Fellowship recognizes and supports outstanding graduate students and those entering into a graduate program.

Runge applied for the fellowship at the encouragement of her advisor, Roger Fales, an associate professor of mechanical and aerospace engineering and associate dean of student services and academic programs. She attended workshops hosted by the MU Fellowships Office and spent months on the application.

“A lot of work went into it,” she said. “I didn’t expect to get it, so I’m definitively proud.”

Runge earned bachelor’s degrees in mechanical engineering and math and a minor in aerospace engineering in December 2021. During her senior year, she began working with Fales on research around automating oxygen machines in pre-natal care settings. The team designed a device to automatically monitor and control the levels of oxygen given to premature babies.

“Wanting to see that project implemented was the largest driver in my factor to continue on to graduate school,” Runge said. “It was the first time I’d really seen a project through from early design stages to clinical trial.”

She decided to pursue graduate work in electrical engineering to expand her skillset and gain more experience working with machine learning, digital signal processing and nanotechnology.

While Runge has accepted a position at Boeing in Los Angeles immediately after graduation, the NSF Graduate Research Fellowship provides three years’ worth of funding for a PhD that she can use within the next five years.

Because of her Mizzou education, Runge is prepared for whatever comes next.

“Mizzou has a little bit of everything: R1 research, study abroad, student organizations,” she said. “There are so many opportunities to work with people on different projects. From the graduate perspective, the research here is incredible with the medical school, veterinary school, law school — there are so many opportunities for interdisciplinary collaboration. In graduate school, that’s very important. I always encourage students to try as many things as you can.”

Runge is one of two Mizzou Engineers to receive an NSF Graduate Research Fellowship this year. Senior Lucas Kuehnel plans to use the funding immediately to pursue a PhD in chemical engineering. Read his story here.