Johnson in swamp water
Seven Tigers Win National Science Foundation Graduate Awards
Trinity students and alumni on forefront of cutting-edge, scientific research

Six Trinity alumni and one current student were recently among 2,000 aspiring scientists who were awarded graduate research awards from the National Science Foundation. The fellowships are awarded to students pursuing masters and doctoral degrees and are one of the highest honors a young scientist could earn, as it provides them with funding while pursuing their degrees which can then also make it easier to find positions in research labs. 

This year Trinity had an unprecedented amount of awardees recognized, typically having three to four students recognized in prior years. Michele Johnson, professor of biology, credits Trinity’s extensive undergraduate research opportunities, which many students do not encounter until they enter graduate school, as one of the primary reasons why so many Trinity students are well prepared for graduate study. Students can get involved in research as early as the first semester of their first year, which can give them the experience required to succeed in graduate school and beyond. 

“Students are often working closely with professors as a collaborative team, not just as technicians following a specific protocol. Our students make real intellectual contributions to their projects, and their creative thinking can often redirect the focus of a project,” Michele Johnson explains. “Many research students experience every step of a research project, from finding a gap in the scientific literature, developing a research plan to address that gap, collecting and analyzing data, and reporting those results via conference presentations and publications.”

The award is presented to students whom the National Science Foundation has deemed among the most promising in their field. It includes a five-year fellowship period, a three-year, annual stipend of $34,000, $12,000 in education costs paid directly to the institution of study, and opportunities for professional development.

Earning a Graduate Research Fellowship is one of the highest honors a graduate student in the sciences could receive. Many Trinity students, including those in the sciences, attend graduate school immediately following graduation; 32% of May 2020 graduates enrolled in graduate school directly after attending Trinity. Earning a fellowship like a National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship is a significant achievement and one that will propel these students forward in their careers.

“Receiving this fellowship is such an honor,” says Lauren Johnson ’21, a current student and one of this year’s recipients. “As a young scientist embarking on my Ph.D. journey, knowing that the National Science Foundation believes in me is extremely motivating and empowering.“

Congratulations to the following Tigers on this significant award!

Lauren Johnson ’21

studying evolutionary biology at Washington University in St. Louis

Amani Canada ’20

studying geography at Texas A&M University

Daisy Horr ’19

studying evolutionary biology at University of California at Berkeley

Dani Freund ’18

studying ecology at University of Minnesota

Zachary Wooten ’17

studying biostatistics at Rice University

Justin Linick ’04

studying geophysics at Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Emily Babcock ’19 (Honorable Mention)

studying chemistry at University of Texas at Austin

Header photo shows Lauren Johnson '21 conducting research.

Madison Semro '21 helps tell Trinity's story as a writing intern with Strategic Communications and Marketing.

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