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>  News Releases >   2007 >   April

Nine Dartmouth alumni given NSF Graduate Fellowships

Dartmouth College Office of Public Affairs • Press Release
Posted 04/12/07 • Rebecca Bailey • (603) 646-3661

The National Science Foundation (NSF) recently awarded funding to nine Dartmouth alumni through its Graduate Research Fellowship Program. The program provides three years of support for graduate study that will lead to a research-based master's or doctoral degree.

These awards are intended for students early in their graduate careers. For recipients looking for a position in a research lab, the award means they arrive with their own funding and don't need to have their salary paid out of the lab's resources—a significant advantage in securing a sought-after spot. Each year, approximately 1,000 awards are granted, and the winners represent a variety of disciplines, all relevant to the mission of the NSF.

Joseph Brown '00 is in year one of four of a Ph.D. program in mechanical engineering at the University of Colorado in Boulder. His focus lies in nanoscale materials processing. After obtaining an AB from Dartmouth in engineering sciences, Brown worked for several start-up businesses, doing work that was incorporated into several full patent filings. Brown said Dartmouth's interdisciplinary approach to engineering education helped him to find his interests, as did the influence of his undergraduate advisor, Thayer School of Engineering Associate Professor Ursula Gibson.

Cayelan Carey '06 will be starting in August the first year of a five-year Ph.D. program in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology at Cornell University. Carey's research examines an invasive species of toxic cyanobacteria, or blue-green algae, that is currently exhibiting outbreaks in low-nutrient lakes in the northeastern United States, including New Hampshire and Maine. Carey is currently on a Fulbright Fellowship in Sweden, a country where this species has been blooming since the early 1930s.

Clare Gupta '04 is in year one of five of a Ph.D. program in UC Berkeley's Environmental Science, Policy and Management department. Co-advised by a rural sociologist and a wildlife ecologist, she is researching natural resource management and wildlife conservation policy in southern Africa—more specifically, the social and political implications of conservation areas that cross regional, national and local boundaries. Gupta's research in Africa began with a Reynolds Scholarship she received from Dartmouth, which enabled her to conduct a year-long research project on human-wildlife conflict around national parks in Botswana.

Margaret Mills '01 is in year one of five of a Ph.D. program in molecular and cellular biology at the University of Washington. Her intended projects focus on development and evolution, studying pigment patterns in zebrafish (Danio rerio) and related species, to identify the genetic and cellular bases for the appearance of the adults of these species. Some of her earliest lab experience was as a Dartmouth undergraduate, in the lab of Professor of Biological Sciences Mark McPeek. Of additional value were the Dartmouth biology courses in which students designed, carried out, and presented the results of experiments, in lieu of a final exam.

Neha Narula '03 will be starting a Ph.D. program in computer science at MIT next fall. Narula's interests lie in distributed systems and game theory. She counts as critical the research experience she had as a Dartmouth undergraduate, working with professors as eminent in their fields as those at large research institutions.

Elizabeth Norton '05 is in year one of five of a M.A./Ph.D. program in child development at Tufts University. Norton's work focuses on the behavioral and neurological characteristics of dyslexia—specifically, the use of language and reading assessments as well as MRI brain scanning to examine the efficacy of reading intervention programs for elementary and high school students with dyslexia. Norton first used MRI to study language in her senior honors thesis with Laura-Ann Petitto, a Dartmouth professor in the education and linguistics and cognitive science departments. That research, in which Norton examined the neural underpinnings of spelling, was recently published this month in the first issue of the journal Mind, Brain, and Education.

Nicholas Rule '04 is in year two of five of a Ph.D. program in psychology at Tufts University, focusing on social perception and social neuroscience, particularly the way that we form first impressions. Rule said he found his interests as a Dartmouth undergraduate by means of some powerful outside-the-classroom experiences, including a summer internship sponsored by the Rockefeller Center, an honors thesis in psychology, a term in New Zealand studying the Maori, and an independent study his senior year on discourse analysis. In his research, he uses both cognitive and neuroscience techniques, including MRI, to which he was introduced while working in a professor's lab during a Presidential Scholar's research assistantship during his sophomore year.

Sara Thiebaud '06 is in year one of five of a Ph.D. program in systems biology at Harvard University. Her research looks at how human cells repair DNA damage, using time-lapse fluorescence microscopy to look at the dynamics of different repair proteins in live cells in an effort to understand how the DNA repair method is influenced by the growth, replication, and division of the cell. Her group hopes to use this and other projects to gain insight into the regulation of human cancers. Thiebaud said her undergraduate thesis advisor, Professor of Biological Sciences Mary Lou Guerinot, gave her significant support and research experience during her Dartmouth years and also advised her during the graduate school and fellowship application processes.

Sharon Yoon '04 is in year two of five of a Ph.D. program in sociology at Princeton University. She will focus on culture, race and social stratification, and East Asian societies, with a specific interest in how individuals who are able to physically blend in with members of the mainstream perceive their racial identity, and how, even in the absence of skin color, discrimination persists in blocking upward mobility. Her intended dissertation topic—racial identity construction and discrimination of third and fourth generation Korean minorities in Japan and China—is an expansion of her senior thesis at Dartmouth.

In addition, 10 recent graduates received honorable mentions: Bart Butler '06, in particle physics; Gretchen Gehrke '05, in geochemistry; Sarena Goodman '05, in economics; Marianne Karplus '04, in geophysics; Emma Lubin '06, in genetics; Evelyn Mervine '06, in marine geology and geophysics; Gabrielle Miller-Messner '01, in evolutionary biology; Hannah Murnen '06, in chemical engineering; Adam Sepulveda '02, in ecology; and Jeremy Tran '05, in evolutionary biology.

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