Claire Bowen earns NSF Graduate Research Fellowship

Author: Kathy Phillips

The National Science Foundation (NSF) recently announced the awardees of the 2015 Graduate Research Fellowships Program (GRFP). This year, eight College of Science students and two alumni received awards. In addition, several students and alumni received honorable mentions. There were over 16,000 applications for this year's GRFP with 2,000 awardees nationwide.

The fellowship provides three years of support for the graduate education of students who have demonstrated the potential for significant achievements in science and engineering research.  Past NSF Fellows include individuals who have made significant breakthroughs in science and engineering research, as well as some who have been honored as Nobel laureates.


Claire Bowen, second-year graduate student in the Department of Applied and Computational Mathematics and Statistics, was one of the current student awardees.  Claire studies statistical disclosure limitation (SDL), or methods of data privacy and confidentiality. She and her advisor, Fang Liu, are developing a technique using Bayesian statistics to preserve participant privacy without altering the integrity of the original data. Many entities – such as national security agencies, hospitals, and educational institutions – will directly benefit from this research in sharing their data safely with collaborators, striking a balance between the privacy of the respondents and the efficiency and validity of the statistical inference based on the released data.

 “My motivation to conduct research in data privacy stems comes from my interests in education research," Bowen explained. "After graduate school, I plan to find a role where I can implement a different approach to education by determining new and better teaching methods when addressing shared data.”

This is the second major award for Bowen during her graduate career. In 2014, she was the named a Microsoft Research Graduate Women’s Scholar.  Bowen graduated with honors from Idaho State University in 2012 with a Bachelor of Science in Mathematics and Physics.

To read more about Claire and the other nominees, please visit: