The instrument that will form the heart of NASA's James Webb Space Telescope, or JWST, has...
UA Students Sweep Prestigious National Awards
Dozens of UA students have earned fellowships and awards from the National Science Foundation and Philanthropic Educational Organization.
The University of Arizona had a strong showing in this year's selection of National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship awardees, and other competitive programs.
Twenty-one current UA students have been named recipients of the NSF fellowship.
Also, of the 2,000 fellowships awarded to students across the nation, nearly another 40 awardees are UA alumni, having attended the instituion as either an undergraduate or graduate student.
The NSF Graduate Research Fellowship program is highly competitive, awarded to outstanding students in science, technology, engineering and mathematics disciplines. All students awarded are pursuing research-based master's and doctoral degrees at accredited institutions across the U.S.
"A NSF Graduate Fellowship is one of the most prestigious national awards for graduate students," said Andrew Comrie, the Graduate College dean and associate vice president for research.
Fellows receive an annual stipend of $30,000 for three years and support for tuition and fees. Also, awardees qualify for international research and professional development opportunities. The total value of the fellowship exceeds $126,000.
At the UA, current graduate students were awarded in 13 academic programs across campus. They include anthropology, astronomy, chemistry, entomology and insect science, geography, geosciences, neuroscience, optical science, planetary sciences and plant sciences.
"We are continually impressed with the work of graduate students at the UA and are enormously proud of the new NSF fellows," Comrie said.
UA students selected in this year's round emphasized the importance of the support in allowing them to focus on their own research.
"It is an enormous honor to receive this support, but even more gratifying to have the importance of my research validated and recognized by the NSF," said NSF fellow Carl Lundblad, a graduate student in the UA School of Natural Resources and the Environment.
Lundblad's research focuses on the underlying causes of bird migration. He expects his findings will help create more effective wildlife management in the future.
Amy Schott, an archeology student who also was named a NSF fellow, studies how irrigation practices have influenced the environment in Sonora, Mexico. She explained that her research "uses geoarchaeological approaches to answer questions about long-term human-environment relationships."
Diana Meter, another NSF fellow, studies aggression and victimization in adolescents and said she was "thrilled" to have been selected.
"I am committed to creating a better understanding of issues surrounding peer victimization through research and the fellowship will allow me to pursue my research with fervor," said Meter, a graduate student in family and consumer sciences.
The NSF also awarded 1,835 honorable mentions. Of those, 39 are past, current or future UA students.
Also, the Nordic Research Opportunity and Philanthropic Educational Organization, or P.E.O., recipients were named.
Current NSF Graduate Research Fellow Benjamin Blonder has been granted additional international funding under the agency's Nordic Research Opportunity.
The funding will allow Blonder, a doctoral student in ecology and evolutionary biology, to pursue research at the University of Copenhagen Center for Macroecology, Evolution and Climate in Denmark.
There he will investigate the relationship between climate change and adaptation in plant communities.
In the 2012 competition, a total of 17 students across the state of Arizona earned P.E.O. awards. Among those, UA doctoral students took seven awards – a record number and more than any other state institution.
Only 85 P.E.O. Scholar Awards are given nationally to support women completing doctoral degrees. Students are nominated by area P.E.O. chapters who support scholarly pursuits and advancement for women.
Among the recipients are anthropologist Katherine Dungan, who is completing her research into prehispanic ritual architecture in the Southwestern U.S, and Kerri Jean Ormerod, who is studying the social and environmental effects of reclaimed water use in the southwestern region of the U.S.
"Given the context of water scarcity, reclaimed water is positioned at the forefront of water development," said Ormerod of the School of Geography and Development.
"My research aims to improve understanding of social-cultural perceptions of risk and highlight the fundamental legal uncertainties surrounding reclaimed water planning," she said. " The P.E.O. Scholar Award provides the opportunity to expand the comparative approach of my research project, and potentially include case studies in Australia."
Other scholars at the UA are: Laura Coyle in optical sciences; H. Isabel Fay in geosciences; Jill Onken of anthropology and geosciences; Candace Myers of molecular and cellular biology; and Diane Thompson of geosciences and global change.
The one-time, merit-based award of $15,000 provides partial support for study and research for women who will make significant contributions in their fields of endeavor, and is awarded in the last two years prior to completing the doctorate.