Texas Sea Grant awards $30,000 to graduate students for research

May 31, 2013

By Mona Behl, Ph.D.

COLLEGE STATION, Texas — The Texas Sea Grant College Program at Texas A&M University has awarded $30,000 in research funding to 21 graduate students at three Texas A&M University System institutions.

The funding comes from Texas Sea Grant’s new Grants-in-Aid of Graduate Research Program, which is intended to promote scientific excellence and achievement by providing small grants to graduate students enrolled at Texas A&M University (TAMU), Texas A&M University at Galveston (TAMUG) or Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi (TAMUCC) whose marine- or coastal-related research in any field of study is relevant to Texas, though not necessarily based in Texas.

“Supporting graduate students at this critical time in their scientific careers, as they are learning how to develop and test hypotheses, collect and analyze data, and communicate their findings, is important to Texas Sea Grant,” says Dr. Pamela Plotkin, Texas Sea Grant Director. “This program also provides them with hands-on experience finding funding, writing competitive grant proposals, navigating the peer-review process and conducting funded research within a timeline and budget – important professional skills that are not covered in the classroom.”

Under the terms of the grant program, funds must be applied to expenses directly related to a student’s thesis work, such as fieldwork, laboratory analysis and purchase of testing materials. Following an arduous peer review process, 21 graduate students were selected from a field of 31 applicants to receive funding for projects beginning on June 1, 2013, and ending on May 31, 2014.
The proposals were scored based on students’ academic and employment histories, the intellectual merits and broader impacts of the proposals, and the students’ statements of career goals and reference letters. Program guidelines allow for research grants ranging from $500 to $2,000, with an average award of $1,200.

The 2013-2014 awards include nine students who received $2,000 grants. They are:

  • Ellie Figuera, TAMU, doctoral candidate, Physics and Astronomy.
  • Melissa Hawkins, TAMU, doctoral candidate, Biomedical Engineering.
  • Debra Hoekel, TAMUCC, master’s candidate, Biology.
  • Chi Huang, TAMU, doctoral candidate, Landscape Architecture and Urban Planning.
  • Laura Lomeli, TAMU, doctoral candidate, Industrial/Organizational Psychology.
  • Adriana Mendez, TAMU, doctoral candidate, Wildlife and Fisheries Sciences.
  • Alicia Shepard, TAMUG, doctoral candidate, Oceanography.
  • Matthew Streich, TAMUCC, doctoral candidate, Marine Biology.
  • Travis Washburn, TAMUCC, doctoral candidate, Marine Biology.

Another 12 students received $1,000 grants. Their names, universities, departments and the graduate degrees that they seek are:

  • Kevin Andrews, TAMU, Agricultural Leadership, Education, and Communications.
  • Xochitl De La Rosa, TAMU, doctoral candidate, Wildlife and Fisheries Sciences.
  • Gloria Espinoza, TAMUG, doctoral candidate, Marine Biology.
  • I-Shuo Huang, master’s candidate, TAMUCC, Life Sciences
  • Clare Iseton, master’s candidate, TAMUG, Marine Biology.
  • Kole Kubicek, master’s candidate, TAMU, Wildlife and Fisheries Sciences.
  • Rika Muhl, TAMU, doctoral candidate, Wildlife and Fisheries Sciences
  • Avery Scherer, TAMUCC, doctoral candidate, Life Sciences.
  • Kaitlyn Schroeder, TAMUCC, doctoral candidate, Coastal and Marine System Science.
  • Sasa Tatapaneeyakul, TAMU, doctoral candidate, Ecosystem Science and Management.
  • Carolyn Weaver, TAMUG, doctoral candidate, Ecosystem Science and Management.
  • Kathryn Wedemeyer, TAMU, doctoral candidate, Marine Biology.

More information about the Grants-in-Aid of Graduate Research Program is available online athttp://texas-sea-grant.tamu.edu/WhatWeDo/Grants-In-AidofGraduateResearchProgramRequestForm.html, or by contacting Texas Sea Grant Research Coordinator, Dr. Mona Behl, by email at monabehl@tamu.edu or by telephone at (979) 458-0449.

Texas Sea Grant is a unique partnership that unites the resources of the federal government, the State of Texas and universities across the state to create knowledge, tools, products and services that benefit the economy, the environment and the citizens of Texas. It is administered through the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and is one of 33 university-based Sea Grant Programs around the country. Within the university, Texas Sea Grant is a non-academic research center in the College of Geosciences. The program’s mission is to improve the understanding, wise use and stewardship of Texas coastal and marine resources.

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Texas Sea Grant is a unique partnership that unites the resources of the federal government, the State of Texas and universities across the state to create knowledge, tools, products and services that benefit the economy, the environment and the citizens of Texas. It is administered through the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and is one of 33 university-based Sea Grant Programs around the country. Texas Sea Grant is a non-academic research center in the College of Geosciences at Texas A&M University. The program’s mission is to improve the understanding, wise use and stewardship of Texas coastal and marine resources.