Alums Win National Research Fellowships

By Scott Craig   |   April 25, 2023

Two Westmont alums have received prestigious Graduate Research Fellowships from the National Science Foundation. Braden Chaffin (’23) and Chisondi Warioba (’21) have been chosen for the program whose purpose “is to ensure the quality, vitality and diversity of the scientific and engineering workforce of the United States.” The five-year fellowship provides three years of financial support that includes an annual stipend of $37,000. 

Warioba, a second-year graduate student halfway through his doctorate in medical physics at the University of Chicago, applied for the fellowship to continue research on his project, “fMRI and DTI analysis of functional connectivity loss related to cerebral arterial occlusion.” His award announcement states: “Being chosen as an NSF Graduate Research Fellow is a significant national accomplishment and places you among an elite group of fellows, many of whom have gone on to distinguished careers in STEM or STEM education.”

Warioba plans to attend medical school and aspires to become a physician-scientist. He is engaged to alumna Brittany Bancroft (’19), and they plan to marry in September. 

Chaffin, who graduated last semester from Westmont and will return to campus to walk in Commencement on May 6, attends UCLA this fall to earn a doctorate in organic chemistry. “This fellowship allows me greater flexibility and security, and I will not have to teach to support myself, thus freeing up more time dedicated purely to research,” he says. 

After graduate school, he hopes to work in small molecule development, possibly in the biopharmaceutical industry. “In the very long term, I hope to teach at some point in my life, possibly becoming a professor closer to retirement,” he says. 


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