PULLMAN, Wash. — Washington State University’s School of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science has awarded its first two full-coverage graduate student fellowships.
“In the past we’ve given fellowships of $2,000-5,000 to graduate students,” said Glen Hower, interim director for EECS. “These new ones are worth about $15,000 each, allowing for tuition for one academic year, health insurance and a monthly stipend. We used money designated by alumni for fellowships, and lumped many smaller donations together to get these big ones.”
The fellowships, awarded to Brian Banister from Newcastle, and John McNitt, Albion, are designed to encourage U.S. students with excellent research potential to enter graduate school, as well as to help WSU be competitive with other universities that are awarding such amounts for exceptional students.
Banister is a doctoral student using the fellowship to research data compression topics under his faculty adviser, Thomas Fischer. McNitt is a master’s degree student researching mixed-signal circuit design under Theresa Fiez. The recipients are allowed the freedom to pursue their own research, under the supervision of their advisers.
“Our goal is to increase private fellowships to at least 10 such awards,” said Hower. “This not only helps us promote the growth and quality of our graduate program, but parallels WSU’s effort to be named a Carnegie Foundation Research I University by 1999.” (Research I universities are committed to graduate education, awarding at least 50 doctorates a year and reaching a certain level of research funding.)
National trends in higher education today show a decrease in graduate schools’ enrollment and higher growth in international versus U.S. students. The goal of these fellowships is to attract more master’s and doctoral students from this country.

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Note to Editors: Banister may be reached at 509/335-1888; McNitt at 509/335-6308.