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Two Graduate Programs Win Federal Grants

Two Dartmouth graduate programs have won highly competitive awards from the U.S. Department of Education to support graduate training in chemistry and in an interdisciplinary program in nanotechnology and health sciences involving faculty from the arts and sciences, medicine, and engineering.

The awards were made under the Graduate Assistance in Areas of National Need (GAANN) program, which provides highly competitive graduate stipends and programmatic funding to support graduate training. GAANN programs provide fellowships through academic departments and programs to colleges and universities around the country to assist graduate students with excellent academic credentials who demonstrate financial need, and who plan to pursue the highest degree available in designated fields of national need.

GAANN fellowship recipients are paid up to a $30,000 stipend and Dartmouth receives additional funding to cover the costs of the fellow's tuition. The GAANN for chemistry will support five fellowships each year for three years and the GAANN in nanomedicine will support four fellowships each year for three years.

The latest grants bring to five the number of Dartmouth graduate programs that have received these national awards; the mathematics, physics and astronomy, and biology departments received them in 2004. Dartmouth will receive a total of more than $3 million to increase the competitiveness and success of those five programs, and about 20 students will be supported with fellowships each year.

"This GAANN Fellowship award will allow us to recruit, acknowledge, and reward additional outstanding chemistry graduate students, while contributing to areas of scientific inquiry of particular importance to the nation," says John Winn, chair of the chemistry department. "The competition for these awards is very strong, and we were pleased that Dartmouth's chemistry graduate program was judged to be among the best."

The Nanotechnology in Health Sciences training program is a collaborative effort among faculty in Dartmouth's arts and sciences departments with faculty in Dartmouth Medical School and Thayer School of Engineering. Associate Professor of Engineering and Program Director Ursula Gibson seeks to train students at the interface of fundamental science and medical applications of nanostructured materials. "This award recognizes the important advances that we are poised to make at the intersection between engineering and medicine," she says.

"Having support from the U.S. Department of Education has had a very positive impact on Dartmouth's graduate programs by increasing the strength and diversity of incoming students as well as enhancing training opportunities available to our current students," says Dean of Graduate Studies Charles Barlowe. "I am especially pleased to see the U.S. Department of Education recognize interdisciplinary research areas that so often thrive in Dartmouth's academic community."

Graduate students who receive GAANN fellowships participate in workshops and attend lectures to promote their academic careers. Hailey Webber, a GAANN fellowship recipient in biology, used the funding to attend a scientific meeting in Spain and present her work to an international audience. She says, "The fellowship increased my confidence and made me more comfortable with my decision to pursue a career in biology. "

By ROLAND ADAMS

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Last Updated: 12/17/08