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Seven Massachusetts Graduate Students Awarded EPA Grants for Environmental Research Projects

Release Date: 10/28/2014
Contact Information: David Deegan, (617) 918-1017

BOSTON – Seven graduate research students in Massachusetts will receive fellowship grants to assist with their research projects, under EPA’s “Science to Achieve Results” (STAR) program. The students include three from Boston University, three from Harvard University and one from Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution.

The funded projects announced by EPA are among approximately $8.6 million being awarded nationally to 105 graduate students. The 105 STAR fellows will receive a maximum funding of $42,000 for one year (for master’s students) or $84,000 for up to two years (for doctoral students). In addition to the students selected from Mass. schools, five students were also selected from other New England universities for STAR fellowships, including from Brown University, University of Rhode Island and Yale University.

“EPA is very pleased to provide modest investments in the future of our next generation of scientists and engineers who will help us find cost-effective, sustainable solutions to environmental problems,” said Curt Spalding, regional administrator of EPA’s New England office. “New England has always been a leader in developing and employing forward-thinking responses to environmental concerns. These students are the next generation of that proud tradition.”

The research projects supported by the EPA STAR fellows funding at Harvard include:

- Improved Understanding of North American Background Ozone, $84,000 grant;
- Exposure and Risk Assessment of Perfluoroalkylated Compounds (PFCs), $84,000 grant;
- An Assessment of Energy Efficiency Information Provision: Financial, Energy, and Environmental Impacts of City Benchmarking Mandates, $84,000 grant.

“The STAR awards highlight the tremendous research abilities of our graduate students,” said Xiao-Li Meng, Dean of Harvard University’s Graduate School of Arts and Sciences. “I am very pleased that the EPA is recognizing our students’ great potential to address critical environmental challenges now and in the future.”

The research projects supported by the EPA STAR fellows funding at Boston University include:

- Investigating an epidemic of Chronic Kidney Disease (CKD) in Western Nicaragua, $84,000 grant.
- The Effect of the Environmental Chemical Receptor (AhR) on Breast Cancer Stem Cell Development, Function and Maintenance, $84,000 grant.
- Impact of fugitive methane emissions on ecosystem services across a gradient of shale gas extraction to natural gas distribution, $84,000 grant.

"We are delighted that three Boston University students are among those awarded grants under the EPA’s Science to Achieve Results fellowship program. The three grants, which investigate topics ranging from environmental effects on Chronic Kidney Disease to the impact of emissions on ecosystem services, demonstrate the depth and breadth of our research in environmental sciences and constitutes a significant contribution to the education of our students in this area," said Gloria S. Waters, Vice President and Associate Provost for Research at Boston University.

Finally, a student at Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution was awarded a $84,000 STAR grant for a project titled “Exploring the impacts of past climate change on terrestrial carbon storage in the South American tropics.”

"EPA STAR fellowship grants are extremely valuable, providing graduate students with independence and the resources to pursue their own research without other distractions," said Margaret Tivey, Associate Dean of Academic Programs and a senior scientist at Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution.

Federal agencies have placed a high priority on supporting Science Technology Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) disciplines through education initiatives unique to their agency’s mission, vision and resources. EPA recognizes the need for a commitment to STEM disciplines, especially in environmental areas of study, and has supported this effort through the STAR and Greater Research Opportunities Fellowship Programs.

The graduate students from the STAR fellowship program have been involved in critical and cutting edge environmental science and research opportunities for almost two decades. Since the inception of the STAR fellowship program in 1995, the STAR fellowship program has awarded fellowships to 1,884 students, totaling approximately $65 million in funding, demonstrating EPA’s commitment to supporting students interested in the environmental science fields.

More information:

- Full listing of the 2013 STAR Fellows: http://www.epa.gov/ncer/13fellows
- EPA’s STAR Fellowship Program:
http://epa.gov/ncer/fellow/

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