EEB Ph.D. student Marian Schmidt and incoming Ph.D. student Joanna Larson have been awarded the prestigious National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship. They receive $30,000 a year for three years and an additional $10,500 cost of education allowance each year for tuition and fees.

"During my Ph.D. at U of M, I hope to transform into an aquatic microbial ecologist,” said Schmidt.  “I am interested in how invasive species shape microbial diversity and function and the implications of this for nutrient cycling at the ecosystem level.  Specifically, I will focus on how the presence of the invasive zebra mussel influences the carbon processing of heterotrophic bacteria in freshwater Michigan lakes.” Schmidt’s advisor is Professor Vincent Denef.

Joanna Larson is an incoming Ph.D. student who graduated from Harvard University with her bachelor of arts degree in organismic and evolutionary biology. Her research interests are in the macroevolution of African amphibians, and integration of morphological and molecular data. Her advisors will be Professors Dan Rabosky and Lacey Knowles. She is currently in Gabon, Africa.

The National Science Foundation's Graduate Research Fellowship Program (GRFP) helps ensure the vitality of the human resource base of science and engineering in the United States and reinforces its diversity. The GRFP recognizes and supports outstanding graduate students in NSF-supported disciplines who are pursuing research-based master's and doctoral degrees in the U.S. and abroad. As the oldest graduate fellowship of its kind, the reputation of the GRFP follows recipients and often helps them become life-long leaders that contribute significantly to both scientific innovation and teaching. Past fellows include numerous Nobel Prize winners.