RRSP Awards

Every year, RRS students are awarded premier scholarships and awards from within the program, the University of Alabama as a whole, and from external sources. Please click on one of the buttons below to read more about recipients of these different kinds of awards.


Sydney Aldrich

Junior | Chemical Engineering

Sydney Aldrich is a chemical engineering major from Helena, Alabama. Her interest in the interface between chemical engineering and preserving the environment was sparked by her experiences observing climate change, its causes, and its effects across the globe. She currently conducts research under Dr. Amanda Koh studying novel surfactants for their use in high internal phase emulsion polymer foams as water treatment technology. After graduation, she plans to pursue a career in environmental pollution remediation and work in research and development to reduce the impact of pollution on the natural world. Outside of research, Sydney is a member of the UA American Institute of Chemical Engineers and UA Forest Stewards Guild. Additionally, she participates in the UA fencing club and Randall Research Scholars intramural sports as the Boot Sequence goalkeeper.

"The Randall Research Scholars Program has been an unfailing source of support and encouragement for all its members and alumni. Being surrounded by like-minded peers and exceptional faculty has been truly invaluable for my growth as a person and in my professional life. This program is a wonderful opportunity to gain experience in research and professionalism while making bonds that will last a lifetime."

Read more about external awards by clicking on the following link: External Award Recipients.

Aurora Baker

Junior | Environmental Science

Aurora is an environmental science major and Spanish minor from St. Louis, Missouri. Under Dr. Hart in the Forest Dynamics Lab, she studies the topographic effects on residual tree spatial patterns after catastrophic wind disturbance in longleaf pine woodlands. This summer, she has accepted an REU position in cave and karst science at James Madison University. She is developing surveys to confirm sinkholes in the field and determine their risk level, as well as creating a visual compilation of karst data. Outside of research, Aurora is the president of the Forest Stewards Guild, the RRS representative on the Honors College Advisory Board, and the RRS Intramural Sports Manager. She has previously received university honors including Honors College Student of the Month, RRS Outstanding Service Award, and RRS Outstanding Freshman. Her future goals include pursuing a master’s degree in geography with a concentration in GIS through the Accelerated Master’s Program.

“The Randall Research Scholars Program has provided me with guidance and support throughout my time at UA, and the opportunities afforded to me through this program have encouraged me to apply and pursue this scholarship. Thank you to Mrs. Batson, Dr. Gray, and Darren Evans-Young for your mentorship.”

Read more about external awards by clicking on the following link: External Award Recipients.

Kylie Overton

Junior | Mechanical Engineering & Environmental Science

Kylie Overton is an Honors College student pursuing a dual bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering and environmental science with minors in the Randall Research Scholars Program and Blount Scholars Program. She conducts research on membrane filtration and materials synthesis for wastewater purification within the Elliott Water Research Group under Dr. Mark Elliott and Dr. Mostafa Firouzjaei. She also conducts research on food insecurity within the Ancient People and Plants Laboratory under Dr. Katherine Chiou. Overton is the director of service of the New College student-led course called Outdoor Leadership and Service. She serves as the director of advocacy with the Environment Council and as the vice president of the Veg Club. She is also part of the rock-climbing club and enjoys volunteering at Jeremiah’s Community Garden.

Read more about external awards by clicking on the following link: External Award Recipients.

Skylar Elliott

Junior | Metallurgical Engineering

Skylar Elliott is a metallurgical engineering major from Harvest, Alabama. She was first exposed to research her senior year of high school through an internship with NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville. Although she has conducted other undergraduate research, Skylar currently works under Dr. Gregory Kubacki in the metallurgical and materials engineering department to determine how novel surface processes and fabrication techniques affect localized corrosion for high-strength alloys. She has coauthored two publications in materials science and chemical engineering. Her plan after graduating in 2024 is to pursue a doctorate degree in materials science and engineering to ultimately conduct research in corrosion mitigation for aerospace and defense applications while teaching as a university professor. Outside of her research, Skylar is a research dimension leader for RRS-PRO, the secretary of the metallurgical engineering UA chapter, a representative to the Honors College Student Advisory Board, a member of the 35th order of the XXXI honorary, and a member of UA’s Cast in Steel competition team.

“The Randall Research Scholars Program has provided me with innumerable opportunities to grow in professionalism and research experience, setting me up for success in a lifetime career of research. I am so thankful to be a part of this program!”

Read more about external awards by clicking on the following link: External Award Recipients.

Riley Nold

Sophomore | Physics & Mathematics

Riley Nold is a physics and mathematics major originally from Sioux Falls, South Dakota. During the summer of 2022, as part of an NSF REU, Riley worked as an undergraduate research assistant studying magnetron sputtering and magnetic characterization of rare-earth perovskites. This opportunity sparked his interest in solid-state physics research and the study of novel thin-film systems. At UA, he is currently working under Dr. Adam Hauser to characterize the crystalline and electronic structure of novel Heusler compounds via computational density functional theory. He plans on pursuing a doctorate in experimental condensed matter physics with a research focus in thin-film fabrication, eventually hoping to become a university professor. Outside of research, Nold is a member of UA’s chapter of The Society of Physics Students, where he leads the program's undergraduate physics journal club and organizes professional development events. In his free time, he enjoys writing poetry and volunteering to help K12 speech and debate teams.

"The Randall Research Scholars Program has provided me with a community that has supported me and pushed me outside my comfort zone. Through connections with amazing research faculty and the guidance of my peers and RRS mentors, I have achieved goals that once seemed unobtainable. The RRS program has given me the tools I need to grow as a physics researcher and a STEM professional."

Read more about external awards by clicking on the following link: External Award Recipients.

Nick Hayes | Rhodes Scholar

Nick Hayes

Class of 2022 | Applied Mathematics & German

Congratulations to Randall Research Scholar Nick Hayes on being named a 2022 Rhodes Scholar. Nick was The University of Alabama's 16th Rhodes Scholar

Nicholas Hayes, Long Valley, NJ, graduated with the class of 2022 at the University of Alabama, where he majored in Applied Mathematics and German. He also did an intensive course in Swahili language and culture in Tanzania as a Boren Scholar. An ultramarathoner, he was named the outstanding junior at the University of Alabama on the basis of scholarship, leadership and service. Nick edited an undergraduate science journal, interned at NOAA in fisheries science and has published in academic journals in politics and biology, and also published poetry, and translates between English and Swahili. Nick is completing the MSC in Mathematical Science and the MSt in Linguistics, Philology and Phonetics at Oxford.

"The Randall Research Scholars Program has been an invaluable source of encouragement and support throughout my tenure at the University of Alabama. This program has given me the necessary tools and professional development to not just succeed, but thrive in an interdisciplinary research environment. I am extremely grateful for the mentorship and guidance of the RRSP community, with special thanks to Mrs. Batson, Darren Evans-Young, Dr. Sharpe, and Dr. Gray."

Read more about external awards by clicking on the following link: External Award Recipients.

Jackson Foster | Marshall Scholarship

Jackson Foster

Class of 2022 | Religious Studies & History

Congratulations to our own Jackson Foster on receiving the Marshall Scholarship. Jackson was The University of Alabama's 5th Marshall Scholar.

Originally from Fort Lauderdale, Florida, UA graduate Jackson Foster studied religion and history, with minors in the Blount and Randall Research scholars programs. Jackson has published extensively in early-modern English history—namely, on Tudor criminal law—and the global-critical philosophy of religion, where he uses machine learning to map inclusive futures for the field. He was co-founder and Editor-in-Chief of the Crimson Historical Review, and he spent his junior year earning his bureaucratic stripes as an intern at the National Endowment for the Humanities. Before the COVID-19 pandemic, Jackson was slated to plan and teach a class at the Tuscaloosa Juvenile Detention Center—carceral education and reform being long-standing passions of his. In his free time, Jackson played tennis, soccer, and cricket, dyed his hair, listened to punk music, and painted. As a Marshall Scholar, he is pursuing a master's degree in medieval and early modern studies, then another in data science for the digital humanities, at Durham University.

"RRSP has supported my academic growth, developed in me a multidisciplinary mode of thinking, and provided opportunities integral to my success as a Marshall Scholar."

Read more about external awards by clicking on the following link: External Award Recipients.

NSF Graduate Research Fellowship Program

Congratulations to our own Jace Aldrich, Caroline Austin, and Anna Stevenson on receiving the National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship Program Grant. Read more about external awards by clicking on the following link: External Award Recipients.

Jace Aldrich

Jace Aldrich

Class of 2022 | Mechanical Engineering

“The Randall Research Scholars Program has provided me with lifelong skills and relationships that transformed my undergraduate experience. Both my peers in the program and the faculty that guide us always go above and beyond to provide support, making RRS truly feel like a family.”

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Caroline Austin

Caroline Austin

Class of 2022 | Aeronautical and Aerospace Engineering

"Through the Randall Research Scholars Program, I have formed meaningful relationships with faculty and students who have pushed me to get the most out of my undergraduate career. My involvement in RRSP has helped me develop the skills and research experience necessary for success in graduate school."

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Mackenzi Barrett

Anna Stevenson

Class of 2022 | Mechanical Engineering

"The Randall Research Scholars Program has been an invaluable part of my undergraduate experience. RRSP has allowed to me curate valuable relationships, both with students and faculty, that I will continue to treasure throughout the course of my career. I am incredibly grateful for the mentorship I have received through this program, with special thanks to Dr. Josh Bittle, Dr. Shane Sharpe, Dr. Jeff Gray, and Mrs. Jane Batson."

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Jace was a mechanical engineering major from Helena, Alabama. His research involved non-linear and adaptive control of hybrid exoskeletons for rehabilitation, utilizing functional electrical stimulation to elicit muscle contractions in tandem with robotic actuation. He was also a senior computer lab manager for the Randall Research Scholars Program, where he oversaw the day-to-day operations and long-term goals of the Randall Research Scholars Program Computing Lab. In the summer of 2021, he interned at Ford Motor Company where he was a product owner for a charge management system for fleet electric vehicles. This past summer, he worked in the unmanned systems group at Southwest Research Institute, where he applied his robotics and controls knowledge to develop and improve many autonomous systems. He is a master’s student at the University of Alabama and will continue into a PhD in Mechanical Engineering.

Caroline Austin is a class of 2022 graduate Aerospace Engineering and Mechanics major from Commerce Township, Michigan. Her undergraduate research focused on different methods of testing, quantifying, and improving human balance. While at UA Caroline was an involved member of the Alabama Gymnastics Club Team, serving as the president in her senior year. She was also an officer for both the Women of Aeronautics and Astronautics and the aerospace honor society, Sigma Gamma Tau. Caroline was a National Merit Finalist and was named the 2022 Capstone Engineering Society Outstanding Senior. Outside of her involvement at UA, Caroline was a Pathways Intern at NASA Glenn Research Center where she worked on both power generation estimates for the International Space Station and computational models for Space Associated Neuro-ocular Syndrome. Caroline returned to NASA this past summer and is now attending The University of Colorado Boulder where she is pursuing an Aerospace Ph.D. with a Bioastronautics concentration. Her graduate research studies the use of galvanic vestibular stimulation (GVS) to recreate the disorientation experienced by astronauts upon return from space flight. Her work testing a prototype GVS device and developing an algorithm to appropriately couple stimulation levels with different head movements will provide a new training method for astronauts.

Anna Stevenson is a class of 2022 graduate from Tall Timbers, MD who studied mechanical engineering with a minor in the Randall Research Scholars Program. For three years at UA, she worked in the UA Engines and Combustion Laboratory studying combustion parameters of biofuels for use in low-emission diesel engines. She also has work experience as a Mechanical Design intern with Jordan & Skala Engineers, and additional research experience as a SULI intern at Oak Ridge National Laboratory where she studied the effectiveness of boiler retrofits on home energy reduction. While at UA, she was involved with the American Society of Mechanical Engineers, the Society of Women Engineers, Pi Tau Sigma, Alabama Action, and The XXXI Premier Women’s Honorary. She was also a Goldwater Scholar and the 2022 recipient of the Catherine J. Randall Premier Award. She is currently pursuing a PhD in mechanical engineering at the University of Virginia where she is continuing to study ways to reduce emissions from the transportation sector in order to fight the worsening climate crisis.