Awards and Honors
STEPS Institute awards student fellowships
By Tim Stephens
Five graduate students at UCSC were selected last month to
receive fellowships from the STEPS Institute for Innovation
in Environmental Research. Three students received $20,000 fellowships
for interdisciplinary environmental research, and two students
received $9,000 fellowships for biodiversity conservation research.
In addition to the graduate fellowships announced last month,
the institute awarded smaller research grants to 20 graduate
students and six undergraduates in January.
The STEPS Institute supports environmental research and policy
through initiatives that aim to forge new collaborations among
researchers at UCSC, policy makers, and environmental managers.
The institute organizes workshops, provides fellowships and
grants, and helps to establish new environmental research facilities
on the UCSC campus.
The two fellowships in biodiversity conservation were awarded
to Carolyn Kurle, a graduate student in ecology and evolutionary
biology who is studying the effects of introduced predators
on intertidal communities in the Aleutian Islands; and Sara
Bothwell, a graduate student in environmental studies who is
investigating the effects of landscape diversity on populations
of parasitic wasps that provide biological control of agricultural
Formally known as the M.R.C. Greenwood Fellowship Award in
Biodiversity Conservation, these $9,000 fellowships are supported
by a generous gift from Diane and Donald Cooley, longtime supporters
of UCSC. The fellowship award is administered by the STEPS Institute
in collaboration with the UCSC Arboretum.
The other three fellowships were awarded to incoming graduate
students Andrea Jani, Jae Pasari, and Autumn Lynn Harrison.
These $20,000 STEPS fellowships are funded by an anonymous donor
and named in honor of three individuals with links to the campus
and an interest in science and society. Jani was awarded the
Christine Eckstrom Fellowship, Pasari received the Frans Lanting
Fellowship, and Autumn Lynn Harrison was awarded the M.R.C.
Jani will be working with Ingrid Parker, associate professor
of ecology and evolutionary biology, and Gregory Gilbert, associate
professor of environmental studies, to study host-pathogen interactions
and the relationships between disease dynamics, population ecology,
and community ecology. Pasari will be working with Erika Zavaleta,
assistant professor of environmental studies, to explore the
relationship between biodiversity and ecosystem functioning
in Central Coast ecosystems. Harrison will study marine biology
with Daniel Costa, professor of ecology and evolutionary biology.
Additional information about STEPS grants and fellowships and
the recipients of the 2005 awards can be found online at www.steps.ucsc.edu.
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