Grad student fellows: Top scientists funded to address world’s problems

By Cheryl Reed, WSU Graduate School

PULLMAN, Wash. – Thirteen new scientists bring to 33 the number of doctoral students at Washington State University who are pursuing solutions to the world’s complex problems as three-year Achievement Rewards for College Scientists (ARCS) fellows.

“The benefits of being an ARCS fellow go way beyond the monetary,” said Sierra Beecher, a past fellow and doctoral graduate in molecular plant sciences. “I felt doubly committed to my scientific progress, which translated into a deeper engagement with my scientific endeavors and a higher level of satisfaction with my work.”

WSU fellows are funded by the Seattle ARCS Foundation chapter, “a group of 120 women in Seattle who really care about what you’re doing,” said Chapter President Andrea Thoreson to a recent gathering of the fellows. “We love to hear about your research.”

Empowered with financial and caring support, ARCS students at WSU can focus on their research and on finding solutions that will alleviate the world’s pressing problems.

For example, third-year ARCS scholar Lindsay Fry is developing a vaccine for a cattle disease the kills more than 3 million animals annually in sub-Saharan Africa.

“It is devastating for pastoralist farmers who rely on meat and milk from these animals to feed and provide for their families,” she said. “ARCS has enabled me to focus completely on this important work, and I am so grateful for the support and encouragement.”

New fellows listed

The ARCS fellowships have been life-changing for scholars, and the number of recipients is growing each year. WSU’s newest ARCS fellows are:

Adan Medina, Gene and Linda Voiland School of Chemical Engineering and Bioengineering.

Craigen R. Nes, Department of Veterinary Microbiology and Pathology.

Aileen R. Helsel, School of Molecular Biosciences.

Andrea R. Garfinkel, Department of Plant Pathology.

Drew M. Neyens, Department of Integrative Physiology and Neuroscience.

Elena Skornyakov, Department of Neuroscience.

Jessica A. Higginbotham, Department of Neuroscience.

Kathy Helling, Gene and Linda Voiland School of Chemical Engineering and Bioengineering.

Korey J. Brownstein, molecular plant sciences in the Department of Plant Pathology.

Nicole E. Tautges, Department of Crop and Soil Sciences.

Paul Mihalyov, molecular plant sciences in the Department of Plant Pathology.

Zachary “Zack” A. Frederick, Department of Plant Pathology.

Tessa LeCuyer, combined veterinary clinical microbiology residency/graduate program.

More about ARCS

The ARCS Foundation nationally is made up of 1,500 women in 17 chapters supporting 55 universities and 14,188 scholars. It has awarded nearly $82.8 million to students.

The Seattle chapter, founded in 1978, funds students at WSU and the UW and is one of the most successful chapters in the nation. It awarded more than $737,000 in 2012.

In addition to the general scholarship funds, generous donors have established 36 endowed fellowships, many of which received additional matching funds. Through each of these $100,000 endowments, donors support ARCS scholar awards in perpetuity.

“The generosity of the Seattle Chapter of ARCS Foundation has been instrumental in recruiting some exceptional talent to WSU,” said Bill Andrefsky, dean of the Graduate School. “We’re extremely grateful for their support and excited to be a part of the advancement of our state’s intellectual community.”





Bill Andrefsky, WSU Graduate School dean, 509-335-1127,

Cheryl Reed, WSU Graduate School communications coordinator, 509-335-7177,