Graduate students win NSF research fellowships

By Eric Sorensen, WSU science writer

PULLMAN, Wash. – Five Washington State University students have been chosen for National Science Foundation graduate research fellowships. The prestigious awards have trained generations of American scientists and engineers, including Nobel laureates.

The WSU recipients are among 2,000 students chosen from more than 13,000 applicants from across the U.S. The fellowships provide three years of financial support – a $34,000 annual stipend and $12,000 payment to the student’s university – for graduate study leading to a research-based master’s or doctoral degree in science or engineering.

“The Graduate School, in collaboration with the WSU Office of Research, has been hosting annual workshops for several years to help graduate students prepare competitive applications for these prestigious fellowships,” said Lisa Gloss, associate dean in the school. “We feel this has contributed to the significant increase in the number of students who have received NSF GRFP awards at WSU.”

WSU’s honorees are:

Avery Anne Lane, an anthropology student from Tucson, Ariz., who is working on a master’s in Courtney Meehan’s biocultural anthropology lab.

“My research is focused on how social environments, childcare practices and maternal/infant diets might influence variation in the microbial communities found in breastmilk and the gastrointestinal tract,” she said. “Eventually, I would like to expand upon this research to explore differential health outcomes associated with microbiome variation and the relationships among animal microbiomes, sociality and immunity.”

Shawn Trojahn, a biology master’s student from Virginia Beach, Va., who is looking at the global decline in biodiversity in the vulnerable mangrove forest, a habitat affected by logging and water pollution.

“My research will strive to understand the effects that human encroachment, pollution and climate change will have on the species within the mangrove forest utilizing the mangrove killifish, Kryptolebias marmoratus, as a model,” he said.

Jake Travis Gray, who holds a WSU bachelor’s in engineering, will study “renewable and carbon-neutral hydrogen production from formic acid using electric field assisted catalysis.”

Lindsey Marie Lavaysse, a psychology master’s student from San Francisco, is focusing on occupational health and safety threats to vulnerable populations like pregnant and minority workers.

“I am also interested in outcomes of economic stress, such as job insecurity, as well as how stereotypes and prejudice jeopardize workers’ health and safety,” she said.

Jenny Marie Voss of Aberdeen, Wash., who has a WSU bachelor’s degree in chemical engineering, is studying the catalytic conversion of carbon dioxide and hydrogen into long-chain alcohols.


News media contact:
Eric Sorensen, WSU science writer, 509-335-4846,