K-State Researcher Wins NSF Fellowship

Computer science researcher will get 3 years of funding.

A Kansas State University researcher has received a National Science Foundation Graduate Fellowship for graduate studies in computer science.

Tim Weninger, research associate in computer science at K-State, will receive three years of funding for graduate studies that includes a $30,000 annual stipend and payment of tuition and fees.

Jim Hohenbary, K-State assistant dean for nationally competitive scholarships, said the National Science Foundation's Graduate Fellowships seek to recognize and support students who, as they start graduate school, have already begun to demonstrate their potential to be future leaders in fields related to science, technology, engineering and mathematics.

"I know that Tim has been a very active researcher and student leader at K-State, and I am really pleased to see the foundation recognize his abilities and work ethic through this award," Hohenbary said.

Weninger said the award involves a difficult application process that undergoes a stringent review.

"The application process itself provided a specific motivation to organize and assess my project and enumerate my goals," he said. "The fellowship provides an excellent opportunity to study and advance the state of the field."

Weninger also is a recipient of a 2009 National Defense Science and Engineering Graduate Fellowship, sponsored by the Office of Naval Research in cooperation with the American Society for Engineering Education. The three-year graduate fellowship pays for tuition and fees and an average annual stipend of $31,000 for doctoral studies. He will defer the National Science Foundation Graduate Fellowship for two years after completing two years of the National Defense Science and Engineering Graduate Fellowship.

Weninger currently works as a full-time research associate in K-State's Laboratory for Knowledge Discovery in Databases under the direction of William Hsu, associate professor of computer and information sciences. His current research focuses on using and developing computer programs that make sense of unstructured textual data. He said one application of his research is used to look for disease outbreaks in foreign countries.

Weninger will use both awards to pursue a doctorate in computer science at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Professionally, Weninger said he would like to stay involved in academics, potentially as a faculty member at a research university. He also would like to run for a local public office.

Weninger completed his bachelor's degree in information systems at K-State in May 2007 and his master's degree in computer science at K-State in December 2008. At K-State, Weninger was a member of Sigma Alpha Epsilon fraternity, the K-State Engineering Student Council and the Association of Computing Machinery. He also has been involved with the K-State Student Governing Association as the director of technology, the faculty senate representative and as a senator. In addition, he has been a graduate teaching assistant in computing and information sciences.

A 2003 graduate of Trinity Catholic High School in Hutchinson, Weninger is the son of Ralph and Beth Weninger, Hutchinson. He is married to Jordan Weninger, also of Hutchinson, who is a December 2008 K-State graduate in music education.

Weninger is K-State's second recipient of the 2009 National Science Foundation Graduate Fellowship. Michael Reppert, a May graduate in biochemistry, chemistry and mathematics, Manhattan, also received the award for graduate studies in physical chemistry.

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