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CMOP Students Earn Prestigious Fellowships and Awards

05/17/12 Portland, Ore.

Graduate students at the Center for Coastal Margin Observation & Prediction (CMOP) continue to raise the bar on educational excellence every day. Three students were recently awarded fellowships and two others have been accepted into a highly competitive summer course.

“As a world-class National Science Foundation Science and Technology Center, we place a strong emphasis on interdisciplinary education and research,” said Vanessa Green, director of higher education and diversity at CMOP. “Those efforts show in the successes of our students and I am extremely proud of their achievements.”

Jesse Lopez was awarded the prestigious Department of Energy Computational Science Graduate Fellowship (DOE CSGF). Lopez is a CMOP graduate student studying computational modeling with his advisor António Baptista, director of CMOP and professor at Oregon Health & Science University (OHSU).

The fellowship provides Lopez outstanding benefits and opportunities as he uses high performance computing to develop simulations of estuary and coastal areas that may aid in better scientific understanding of ecosystem processes.

Lopez will receive a yearly stipend and the opportunity to participate in a highly regarded annual fellowship conference in Washington, D.C. He will also have the unique experience of completing a three-month practicum at one of 17 DOE laboratory sites.

Colleen Durkin will start a post-doctoral fellowship at Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI) next fall. There she will perform research with Ken Buesseler in the Marine Chemistry & Geochemistry Department and Sonya Dyhrman and Heidi Sosik in the Biology Department.

Durkin has been focusing her research on the silica cell walls of diatoms in biological oceanography with her advisor E. Virginia (Ginger) Armbrust at the University of Washington. Her thesis is titled, “Environmentally induced changes to the diatom cell wall and the impact of these changes on biogeochemical cycles.”

At WHOI, Durkin plans to continue her area of research but connect it more directly with carbon export measurements. She will study how species composition and physiology influence particle flux in the ocean.

Michelle Maier has been accepted into the National Science Foundation East Asia and Pacific Summer Institutes for U.S. Graduate Students (EAPSI) 2012 program at Toho University in Japan. The fellowship will enable her to collaborate with international researchers in the field of phytoplankton-chytrid ecology.

Maier is a CMOP doctoral student studying microbial interactions in the Columbia River coastal margin. Her advisor is Tawnya Peterson, CMOP research scientist and assistant professor at OHSU’s Division of Environmental and Biomolecular Systems.

Maier will spend eight weeks performing research in Japan, be introduced to the science and science policy infrastructure of Japan, and orientated to the Japanese culture and language. The goals of the program are to introduce students to Japanese science and engineering in the context of a research laboratory, and to initiate personal relationships that will better enable them to collaborate with foreign counterparts in the future.

CMOP graduate students Rachel Golda and Wendy Smythe are two of only 16 students selected for the 2012 summer course “Microbial Oceanography: Genomes to Biomes” at the National Science Foundation Science and Technology Center for Microbial Oceanography: Research and Education (C-MORE) in the School of Ocean and Earth Science and Technology (SOEST) at the University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa.

The summer course, held from May 29 to July 6, 2012, is comprised of lectures, laboratory work, evening colloquia, and a series of three focused symposia. Perhaps the most important component of the course is based at sea where Golda and Smythe will lead and participate in a 10-day research cruise in the open ocean waters of the subtropical North Pacific Ocean.

Golda performs research with her advisors Joseph Needoba and Tawnya Peterson in OHSU’s Aquatic Biogeochemistry and Plankton Ecology group. Smythe’s advisor is Brad Tebo, CMOP scientist and division head of OHSU’s Division of Environmental and Biomolecular Systems.

Written by Jeff Schilling