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Henderson Awarded NSF Graduate Research Fellowship

Aerospace engineering PhD student Trenton Henderson was selected for the 2024 National Science Foundation (NSF) – Graduate Research Fellowships Program (GRFP).

The NSF-GRFP recognizes and supports outstanding graduate students pursuing full-time research-based master’s or doctoral degrees in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) fields or in STEM education at accredited U.S. institutions.

As the oldest graduate fellowship, the NSF-GRFP has a long track record of selecting recipients who achieve successful academic and professional careers and become leaders in their fields. The NSF-GRFP Fellowship provides a three-year annual stipend of $37,000, a $16,000 cost of education allowance for tuition and fees (paid to the institution), and access to professional development opportunities.

“I am honored to be an NSF Fellow. Having grown up in a small community and consistently fighting for access to opportunities, I feel a sense of belonging in the scientific community to be recognized by NSF,” Henderson said. “Possessing the freedom and financial support to pursue any research topic of interest is also a privilege I could have never dreamed of.”

Headshot of Trenton Henderson

Henderson, who earned his bachelor’s in aerospace engineering in 2022, is pursuing his PhD with an interdisciplinary graduate minor in computational science under the supervision of MABE Assistant Professor Devina Sanjaya.

Henderson plans to use his NSF graduate fellowship to improve the accuracy and reduce the cost of computational fluid dynamics simulations for aircraft design. His research aligns with the interest of NSF Office of Advanced Cyberinfrastructure and NSF Fluid Dynamics. Henderson’s long-term career goal is to become a lead aerospace engineer in a research and development program in industry or a government laboratory.

Henderson’s love of airplanes stems from watching airshows and building model airplanes with his grandfather in his early childhood. However, it was not until his undergraduate research experience at Sanjaya’s Scientific Computing and Fluid Dynamics Lab that he discovered his passion in computational fluid dynamics.

“Dr. Sanjaya played an integral role in forming me into the researcher I am today, all the way back to my second year of undergraduate study,” Henderson said. “When I first reached out to her, I did not have any research or CFD experience. She lets me explore my interests and make my own mistakes. She helps me improve and be successful.”

Henderson is a dedicated teacher and mentor and has made significant contributions to K-12 engagement on UT’s campus. As an NSF Fellow, Henderson can choose any faculty advisor and institution for his PhD studies. He has chosen to remain at UT under Sanjaya.

“I have had the privilege of working with Trenton and watching his journey these past years. I am honored and very excited to continue serving as his PhD advisor,” Sanjaya said, “When I welcome a student into my lab, I want him/her to succeed and achieve their professional goals. Seeing Trenton getting this fellowship means a lot.”


Rhiannon Potkey (865-974-0683,