US EPA - Environmental Protection Agency

EPA Awards Research Fellowship Grants to Two Students at the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill


ATLANTA -- Today, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced that Margaret Kovach, PhD and Sandra Spencer, PhD at the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill are two of 105 graduate students across the nation to receive $8.6 million in Science to Achieve Results (STAR) fellowship grants. The grants will be used to conduct research on topics ranging from climate change to public health to water quality, chemical safety and sustainability that will have cross-cutting impacts in the environmental science field. The 105 STAR fellows will receive a maximum funding of $42,000 for one year for master’s students and up to two years for doctoral students.

“These fellowships are helping our next generation of scientists and engineers earning advanced degrees in environmental sciences conduct cutting edge research,” said Lek Kadeli, Acting Assistant Administrator for EPA’s Office of Research and Development. “Through this support, EPA is ensuring that the United States will have the scientific knowledge to meet future environmental challenges, which will strengthen our nation’s economy and security, while better protecting our health and environment in addition to combating climate change.”

This year’s fellowships will support scientists and engineers who are working on research related to mitigating the impacts of climate change on plant communities by transforming the way we restore wetlands, and improving our understanding of where and why harmful algal blooms occur by examining the way nutrients move through river systems. In addition, the grants will support research to investigate environmental challenges such as the effects of climate change on waterborne human pathogens and antibiotic resistant bacteria, study the interaction between pollutants and infectious disease, and classify and restore Pacific Northwest streams to improve water quality and fish habitat.

Many STAR fellows continue on to find success in the public and private sector focusing their efforts on environmental and public health issues. A 1996 STAR fellow from the University of California, Berkeley, is helping to lead TransForm, an award-winning nonprofit organization working in the San Francisco Bay Area and California; the organization’s campaigns have helped raise over $8 billion for sustainable and socially-just transportation and led to ground-breaking policies linking transportation and land use planning. A 2009 STAR fellow is now studying the chemistry of the lower atmosphere at the Atmospheric Chemistry and Dynamics Laboratory at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center.

EPA and other federal agencies place a high priority on supporting Science Technology Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) disciplines through education initiatives unique to their agency’s mission, vision and resources. Next year will mark 20 years of EPA’s commitment to STEM disciplines through funding STAR fellowship students who have made cross-cutting impact in the environmental science field. Since its creation in 1995, the program has awarded fellowships to 1,884 students, totaling approximately $65 million in funding.

The 105 fellows come from the following universities:

  • Arizona State University – Phoenix, Ariz.
  • Baylor University – Waco, Texas
  • Boston University – Boston, Mass.
  • Brown University – Providence, R.I.
  • Carnegie Mellon University – Pittsburgh, Pa.
  • Colorado State University – Fort Collins, Colo.
  • Cornell University – Ithaca, N.Y.
  • Duke University – Durham, N.C.
  • Georgia Institute of Technology – Atlanta, Ga.
  • Harvard University – Cambridge, Mass.
  • Indiana University – Bloomington, Ind.
  • Marquette University – Milwaukee, Wis.
  • Mississippi State University – Starkville, Miss.
  • New School University – New York City, N.Y.
  • Northwestern University – Evanston, Ill.
  • Oregon Health Sciences University – Portland, Ore.
  • Oregon State University – Corvallis, Ore.
  • Pennsylvania State University – State College, Pa.
  • Princeton University – Princeton, N.J.
  • Rutgers University - New Brunswick, N.J.
  • Scripps College – Claremont, Calif.
  • Stanford University – Stanford, Calif.
  • State University of New York - College of Environmental Science & Forestry – Syracuse, N.Y.
  • Texas Tech University – Lubbock, Texas
  • Tulane University – News Orleans, La.
  • University of Alaska – Fairbanks, Alaska
  • University of Arizona – Tucson, Ariz.
  • University of California, Berkeley – Berkeley, Calif.
  • University of California, Davis – Davis, Calif.
  • University of California, Irvine – Irvine, Calif.
  • University of California, Los Angeles - Los Angeles, Calif.
  • University of California, Riverside – Riverside, Calif.
  • University of California, San Diego - San Diego, Calif.
  • University of California, Santa Barbara - Santa Barbara, Calif.
  • University of California, Santa Cruz - Santa Cruz, Calif.
  • University of Chicago – Chicago, Ill.
  • University of Cincinnati – Cincinnati, Ohio
  • University of Colorado – Boulder, Colo.
  • University of Georgia – Athens, Ga.
  • University of Hawaii at Manoa – Manoa, Hawaii
  • University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign – Champaign, Ill.
  • University of Maryland – College Park, Md.
  • University of Michigan - Ann Arbor, Mich.
  • University of Minnesota – Minneapolis, Minn.
  • University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill - Chapel Hill, N.C.
  • University of North Carolina at Greensboro – Greensboro, N.C.
  • University of Notre Dame – South Bend, Ind.
  • University of Oregon – Eugene, Ore.
  • University of Pennsylvania – Philadelphia, Pa.
  • University of Rhode Island – Kingston, R.I.
  • University of South Florida – Tampa, Fla.
  • University of Texas – Austin, Texas
  • University of Utah – Salt Lake City, Utah
  • University of Washington – Seattle, Wash.
  • University of Wisconsin-Madison – Madison, Wis.
  • University of Wyoming – Laramie, Wyo.
  • Utah State University – Logan, Utah
  • Virginia Institute of Marine Science – Gloucester, Va.
  • Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University – Blacksburg, Va.
  • Washington State University – Pullman, Wash.
  • West Virginia University – Morgantown, W.Va.
  • Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution – Woods Hole, Mass.
  • Yale University – New Haven, Conn.

Full listing of the 2013 STAR Fellows:

For more information about the STAR Fellowship Program:

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