New VCU Alumna Named NSF Graduate Research Fellow

A new Virginia Commonwealth University graduate has received a National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship to support her pursuit of doctoral studies.

Nicole Constance
Nicole Constance

Nicole Constance of Fredericksburg graduated from VCU this month with bachelor’s degrees in psychology and anthropology. Constance, who graduated from Courtland High School, will use the NSF Graduate Research Fellowship to attend Penn State to participate in Ph.D. programs in human development and family studies and in demography. Constance hopes to pursue a career as a professor following her doctoral studies. 

As an undergraduate, Constance was involved in several research projects in the Department of Psychology. For her thesis, she focused on the influence of neighborhood quality on the socialization of coping under the guidance of Wendy Kliewer, Ph.D., professor and director of graduate studies in the Department of Psychology. Constance plans to build upon this research as she pursues her graduate degree.

"I am delighted that Nicole has received this honor from NSF,” Kliewer said. “I have every confidence that Nicole will make significant contributions to the fields of developmental psychology and prevention science. Nicole has been a wonderful student with whom to work and I have enjoyed seeing her thinking develop in the two-and-a-half years she has been a part of my lab."

NSF Graduate Research Fellows receive three years of graduate support, including a $30,000 annual stipend, a $10,500 cost-of-education allowance, access to the TeraGrid Supercomputer and a $1,000, one-time international travel allowance.

The mission of the NSF Graduate Research Fellowship Program is to support students who are pursuing graduate degrees in science, technology, engineering or mathematics or social sciences, including psychology, in the United States or abroad. The NSF offers 900 to 1,600 graduate fellowships to students intending to enroll in a research-based master’s or doctoral degrees.

“It is quite an accomplishment for Nicole to be selected for the NSF Graduate Research Fellowship before she has begun her graduate studies,” said Jeff Wing, national scholarship coordinator in the Honors College at VCU.  “Very few students are selected for the GRF until after they have begun their graduate studies. That she was selected as a graduating senior speaks volumes about the maturity of her undergraduate research and the quality of the mentoring she has received from Dr. Kliewer and others.”

Students and alumni interested in learning more about the NSF Graduate Research Fellowship Program should visit, or contact Jeff Wing at or 804-828-1803.

About VCU and VCU Medical Center

Virginia Commonwealth University is a major, urban public research university with national and international rankings in sponsored research. Located in downtown Richmond, VCU enrolls more than 31,000 students in 226 degree and certificate programs in the arts, sciences and humanities. Sixty-seven of the programs are unique in Virginia, many of them crossing the disciplines of VCU’s 13 schools and one college. MCV Hospitals and the health sciences schools of Virginia Commonwealth University comprise VCU Medical Center, one of the nation’s leading academic medical centers. For more, see