Engineering Graduate Student Awarded Prestigious Fellowship

  • May 16th, 2022
A man with a beard poses in a button-down shirt outside.
Tristan Maxson

A doctoral student at The University of Alabama was chosen for a national fellowship for computational researchers, becoming the first UA graduate student to receive the highly selective award.

Tristan Maxson, who is pursuing a doctorate in chemical engineering, is one of 33 students nationwide to receive the Department of Energy Computational Science Graduate Fellowship. The new fellows will attend a total of 19 universities across the country as they learn to apply high-performance computing to research across a range of fields.

As part of the fellowship, Maxson will receive an annual stipend and payment of his tuition to continue his studies at UA. Renewable for up to four years, the fellowship is guided by a comprehensive program of study that requires focused coursework in the areas of science and engineering, computer science and applied mathematics. It also includes a three-month practicum at one of 21 Department of Energy laboratories or sites across the country.

“This is a nationally recognized fellowship that should help my career and allow me to do more while at The University of Alabama,” said Maxson, a native of Monticello, Indiana. “I’m grateful to everyone who has helped me along the way.”

The program, established in 1991 and funded by the department’s Office of Science and the National Nuclear Security Administration’s Office of Defense Programs, trains top leaders in computational science. The program fosters a community of energetic and committed doctoral students, alumni, department laboratory staff and other scientists who want to have an impact on the nation while advancing their research.

With the addition of the 2022-2023 class, nearly 600 students will have entered the fellowship. More than 450 graduates (alumni) work in fields that support computing’s capacity to address problems important to the nation’s future.

A graduate researcher in the lab of Dr. Tibor Szilvási, assistant professor of chemical and biological engineering, Maxson studies chemical reactions on surfaces using high-powered computational methods and protocols that can provide more accurate predictions for material design.

Maxson earned a bachelor’s and master’s degree in chemistry from Ball State University and interned as a research assistant at Purdue University.

In 2016, Thomas Ludwig, an undergraduate studying chemical engineering, was selected for the Computational Science Graduate Fellowship, for his graduate studies at Stanford University.


Adam Jones, UA communications, 205-348-4328,

The University of Alabama, part of The University of Alabama System, is the state’s flagship university. UA shapes a better world through its teaching, research and service. With a global reputation for excellence, UA provides an inclusive, forward-thinking environment and nearly 200 degree programs on a beautiful, student-centered campus. A leader in cutting-edge research, UA advances discovery, creative inquiry and knowledge through more than 30 research centers. As the state’s largest higher education institution, UA drives economic growth in Alabama and beyond.