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Grad Student Earns Prestigious IBM Fellowship

April 7, 2015

David VinsonUC Merced graduate student David Vinson recently earned an intensely competitive IBM Ph.D. Fellowship Award, which provides $30,000 to support his research in computational social science through the 2015-16 academic year. He will also work with an IBM mentor over the course of the year.

Vinson was the first UC Merced student to be nominated for the award, and if nominated in subsequent years, he could receive up to three years of funding. 

“I am quite proud that the first student we nominated for this fellowship has won,” Vice Provost and Dean of Graduate Education Marjorie Zatz said. 

Vinson and his advisor, cognitive science Professor Rick Dale, entered and won the Yelp Dataset Challenge last year for their manipulation and analyses of a dataset of more than 200,000 Yelp business reviews. 

Vinson credits faculty members at UC Merced for giving him the tools and resources that have brought him to this point. 

“I had other options for graduate school, but many of those options seemed to come prepackaged with a defined future, or to create only a specific type of graduate,” he said. “UC Merced has encouraged me to forge my own path and has provided an opportunity to expand and contrast my interests at my own pace.”