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OU Graduate Students Earn NSF National Research Traineeship Program Fellowships

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NORMAN — University of Oklahoma graduate students from diverse disciplines earned one-year, $34,000 fellowships in support of aeroecology and environmental sustainability research with the completion of coursework requirements for the National Science Foundation’s National Research Traineeship Program developed by an OU interdisciplinary research team. The program serves as a model at OU to train graduate students from science, technology, engineering and mathematics fields.

“Now that the OU program is underway, we hope to replicate the program at the University of Delaware and the University of Nebraska and major universities at eight EPSCoR states in subsequent years,” said Jeffrey F. Kelly, professor of biology in the OU College of Arts and Sciences and NRT program principal investigator. “OU is committed to being an innovator for training in interdisciplinary STEM leadership and ensuring sustainability of innovative training developed through the program.”

The seven OU graduate students who completed the NRT coursework certificate in Earth Observation Science for Society and Sustainability and earned fellowships are: Haley Smith, geography; Paula Cimprich, biology; Meelyn Pandit, biology; Rick Wolford, sociology; John Muller, biology; Maryanne Dantzler Kyer, biology; and Elizabeth Besozzi, biology. By completing the required courses, these students have developed effective interdisciplinary research skills that prepare them to engage in research, development and innovation in either the public or private sectors.

A $2.9 million NSF grant awarded in 2015 funded the NRT to fulfill a national need to train data scientists in the field of aeroecology and use of Earth-observation data for societal benefits. For more information about the program, contact