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EEB fellowships secure summer research for 16 graduate students

Sixteen Ecology, Evolution, and Behavior (EEB) students have been awarded competitive summer fellowships based on their scholarly accomplishments, research potential, and engagement in EEB endeavors.

Each student will receive a stipend of $7,500 including matching support from advisors, allowing them to focus solely on research over the 2022 summer.

“Our summer fellowship program serves a key part of EEB’s mission,” said EEB Director Elise Zipkin. “Supporting our graduate students and allowing them dedicated research time is crucial to fostering creative and impactful science. The 16 awardees this year are an impressive group. We are proud of all that they have accomplished and looking forward to seeing all that they will accomplish.”

Two students who ranked top in the group, Meaghan Clark, advised by Sarah Fitzpatrick and Gideon Bradburd in integrative biology; and Toby SantaMaria, advised by Lars Brudvig in plant biology; were awarded the Don Hall Fellowship, which comes with an additional $1,000 stipend from EEB’s Dr. Don Hall Endowed Fund.

Portrait of Meaghan Clark
Meaghan Clark
Don Hall fellow
Toby SantaMaria
Toby SantaMaria
Don Hall fellow

This fellowship is named for the late zoology professor who served as EEB director from 1989 to 2004. Hall, a freshwater ecologist, played a crucial leadership role in fostering the growth of ecological and evolutionary research and training in his more than three-decade career at MSU.

This year, MSU BEACON, a National Science Foundation Science and Technology Center, contributed matching funds to six scholars. Olivia Fitch, advised by Ingo Braasch in integrative biology, was named the EEB-BEACON Evolution in Action Summer Fellow, for her exceptional work pushing forward evolutionary theory, an award that comes with an additional $1,000 stipend.

Portrait of Olivia Fitch
Olivia Fitch

Summer fellowships were also awarded to:

  • Samuel Ayebare, advised by Elise Zipkin in integrative biology
  • Sophia Buysse, advised by Emily Josephs and Jeffrey Conner in plant biology, co-funded by BEACON
  • Veronica Frans, advised by Jianguo “Jack” Liu in fisheries and wildlife
  • Carolyn Graham, advised by Marjorie Weber in plant biology
  • Kyle Jaynes, advised by Sarah Fitzpatrick in integrative biology, co-funded by BEACON
  • Bruce Martin, advised by Marjorie Weber in plant biology
  • Michael Ryskamp, advised by Carolyn Malmstrom in plant biology
  • Alyssa Saunders, advised by Jason Gallant in integrative biology, co-funded by BEACON
  • Olivia Utley, advised by Catherine Lindell in integrative biology
  • Miranda Wade, advised by Mariah Meek in integrative biology, co-funded by BEACON
  • Nicole Wonderlin, advised by Peter White in entomology
  • Jennifer Zavalnitskaya, advised by Zsofia Szendrei in entomology 
  • Julia Zheng, advised by Kevin Liu in computer science and engineering, co-funded by BEACON

EEB offers graduate students and postdocs several funding opportunities to support their professional development via partnership with the MSU graduate school

The EEB Graduate/Postdoc Awards Committee was led by Nan Nourn in fisheries and wildlife and Danielle Whittaker in integrative biology and BEACON. Other members were Jessica Miesel, plant, soil and microbial ecology; David Lowry and Emily Conway, plant biology; Jim Bence, fisheries and wildlife; Erin Zylstra and Isabella Borges in integrative biology; and Jeff Doser in forestry.