Statistics student wins COVES Fellowship


It will be an exciting summer for George Mason University PhD student Zhenyi Huang. 

As a Commonwealth of Virginia Engineering and Science (COVES) Fellowship winner, he’ll begin to embark on his career path in May as he helps to foster relationships between the engineering and science community, and the Virginia state government. 

“I think this will be a very valuable experience for me, and a great opportunity,” said Huang, who is studying statistics. 

The 12-week program offers Huang a stipend of around $14,000 and aims to strengthen ties between the scientific community and state government in the Commonwealth of Virginia, while encouraging and equipping more scientists and engineers to be effective advisors for public policy in the state of Virginia. 

Huang was inspired by last year’s COVES winner who he shared some things in common with – basketball and being of Chinese descent. As he developed the connection, Huang asked his new friend questions about the fellowship process, which he said helped him with the application. 

“I asked him a lot of questions about requirements, what kind of material I should prepare, what the application process is like. I learned a lot from him about all the points I needed to take care of,” said Huang. 

With encouragement from his academic advisors, Huang decided to apply.  

“I never thought to make the connection between science and engineering and politics. It’s a unique opportunity and will be a strong point on my resume,” he said. 

Huang said he was drawn to studying statistics at George Mason because of the strong faculty and programs offered. His advice to future COVES Fellowship potential applicants is to collect any information online and ask as many questions as possible. It’s a method that helped him tremendously. 

“Never be afraid to ask questions!” he said. 

To return the favor, Huang is happy to answer questions for anyone interested in the fellowship. He can be reached at 

The COVES Fellowship is offered through the Virginia Academy of Science, Engineering, and Medicine to graduate students and postdoctorals. Selected participants are placed in legislative, executive agency, or policy offices within a Virginia company or nonprofit.