Phillips receives prestigious NSF Graduate Research Fellowship, Achievement Rewards for College Scientists (ARCS) award


Montana Technological University graduate student Baylie Phillips has been awarded two prestigious research fellowships.

Phillips has been selected to receive the 2024 National Science Foundation (NSF) Graduate Research Fellowship and the Achievement Rewards for College Scientists (ARCS) from the ARCS Foundation Seattle Chapter.

Phillips’s legacy at Montana Tech includes her academic and research achievements, along with her many volunteer activities that deeply enriched the Butte community. Montana Tech’s National Student Awards Committee (NSAC) worked closely with Phillips since Fall 2021 to support her applications for the Barry M. Goldwater Scholarship, Rhodes Scholarship, and NSF Graduate Research Fellowship.

“Baylie is recognized among America’s top research students, and she will contribute to advancements in both biomedical and materials engineering throughout her career,” said NSAC member and Professor of Biology Dr. Marisa Pedulla. “Congratulations to Baylie on her well-deserved national awards!”

Vice Chancellor for Research and Dean of the Graduate School Dr. Angela Lueking added, “Every once in a while, a student comes along that reminds faculty and administrators what is possible, and why they went into academia. For me, Baylie Phillips is that student.”

Baylie Phillips portrait

The National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship is a five-year award with three years of financial support with an annual stipend of $37,000. The National Science Foundation makes the awards to ensure the quality, vitality, and diversity of the scientific and engineering workforce of the United States.

“I’m humbled to receive this award,” Phillips said. “It is extremely competitive, and it is one of the top awards for scientists, not just engineers. I hope to make people proud with my work for my Ph.D.”

Phillips is a Butte native who graduated with her B.S. in Metallurgical and Materials Engineering in 2023. She will graduate with her M.S. in Materials Science and Engineering in May. After gaining acceptance to several Ph.D. programs nationwide, Phillips chose to attend the University of Washington.

During the application process, she was selected by admissions staff to compete for three significant award programs.

“I was humbled that they flagged my application for consideration for not only one, but three different award programs,” Phillips said.


The prestigious ARCS award comes with an unrestricted gift of $22,500, dispersed over three years. The ARCS Foundation is a national organization of 15 chapters serving 49 of the nation's premier research universities. Nationally, more than 11,500 students have received over $131 million in financial support. ARCS Foundation Seattle Chapter, founded in 1978, currently supports Ph.D. scholars at the University of Washington and Washington State University. Recognized as a University of Washington Presidential Laureate, ARCS Foundation Seattle Chapter has contributed more than $23 million to over 1,500 talented scholars in science, engineering and medical research.

Phillips plans to continue her research into biomaterials at the University of Washington. As a master’s student, Phillips researched coatings that could be applied to vascular stents deployed in the human heart.

“Tentatively, I would like to go into the cardiology field to try to make stents for the cardiovascular system, to lower the failure rates,” Phillips said.

Phillips learned that stents had a significant failure rate when she received one during her junior year. The stent crimped, and Phillips had to undergo a second procedure to replace it.

“I saw where this is a problem, and did a deep dive into the field,” Phillips said.

Her proposal to research stents is what won the National Science Foundation (NSF) Graduate Research Fellowship. Because Phillips’s research involves human subjects, the path to testing any stent improvements is likely to be long, but she is determined to make a difference.

“It can take 10 plus years to implement something, but what I’m trying to do now is do the research, and show that there’s a problem by writing papers,” Phillips said.

Phillips has been a standout student at Montana Tech. She was a finalist for the Rhodes Scholarship in 2022, and was awarded the 2022 Barry M. Goldwater Scholarship, which is the most prestigious undergraduate scholarship awarded in the natural sciences, mathematics, and engineering in America. She was also recognized as a Local Hero in December for her many contributions to Montana Tech and the wider Butte community.