Four FCFC grad students receive NSF Fellowships

Congratulations to our four students who received National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowships this month. NSF awarded 2,000 fellowships nationally to support high-potential, early-career scientists.

The graduate students include:

  • T.J. Clark – Advisors Angie Luis and Mark Hebblewhite
  • Amber Datta – Advisor Brian Chaffin
  • Mariah McIntosh – Advisor Cara Nelson
  • Kaitlin Perkins – Advisor Ben Colman

Launched in 1952 shortly after Congress established NSF, GRFP represents the nation's oldest continuous investment in the U.S. STEM workforce. GRFP provides three years of financial support within a five-year fellowship period — $34,000 annual stipend and $12,000 cost-of-education allowance to the graduate institution. That support is for graduate study that leads to a research-based master's or doctoral degree in a STEM field.

The new awardees were selected from more than 12,000 applicants and come from all 50 U.S. states, as well as the District of Columbia and U.S. territories. Honorable mention recognition went to 1,459 individuals.

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T.J. Clark, PhD Fish & Wildlife Biology

T.J. is doing a study of predator-prey population dynamics is dominated by simplified mathematical models that focus on the relationship between a single predator and prey, exemplified by the Isle Royale wolf-moose system. However, few systems are this simple in nature. Most assemblages contain multiple predator and multiple prey species, and their inclusion may spur novel and complex predator-prey interactions. He is building mathematical models to represent multi-predator/prey population dynamics to understand what drives populations of large mammals and how to better manage them in the Rocky Mountain West.

T.J. completed his master's degree in Ecology and Environmental Biology at the University of Glasgow and undergrad degrees at Ohio Wesleyan University. 

T.J. Clark, PhD Fish & Wildlife Biology

Amber Datta, M.S. Resource Conservation

Amber graduated from Pomona College in 2013 with a degree in Environmental Analysis and a focus in Biology. She spent 3 years working with the Michigan chapter of The Nature Conservancy on a collaborative coastal conservation project before joining the M.S. Resource Conservation program at the University of Montana. Amber took a degree option in International Conservation and Development and is advised by Dr. Brian Chaffin. Her thesis focuses on the governance of inshore fisheries in the Solomon Islands. She will graduate in May and will continue working on the management and governance of marine resources in Pacific Island Countries and Territories. Amber was born and raised in Hawaii and is driven to find ways to improve marine resource decision-making to address challenges facing local communities dealing with climate change.

Amber Datta, M.S. Resource Conservation

Mariah McIntosh, M.S. Resource Conservation

Mariah graduated from the University of Montana in 2017 as a Davidson Honors College University Scholar, where she majored in Organismal Biology, Ecology, and Evolution and completed minors in Climate Change Studies and Wilderness Studies. Mariah’s long-term goal is to work at the intersection of science and problem solving, where she hopes to leverage cutting-edge, interdisciplinary ecosystem science to both better understand the natural world and contribute to science-based practice and policy.

Mariah McIntosh, M.S. Resource Conservation

Kaitlin Perkins, M.S. Systems Ecology

Kaitlin's research is focused on the ecological impacts of nanoparticle contaminants in the Upper Clark Fork River, Montana. More specifically, she is working to understand the movement of small particle pollutants on stream and river systems, which result from legacy mining and present-day agricultural practices. She studies how life at the base of the food chain, periphyton (more commonly known as rock scum), take up and release these contaminants. In addition to research in aquatic systems, She is also a trainee in the NSF UM BRIDGES program. They focus on topics in science communication, policy, and interdisciplinary research at the food-energy-water nexus. 

Kaitlin is from Vancouver, Washington and attended Washington State University-Vancouver and majored in Biology and minored in Environmental Science and Mathematics, in addition to receiving a certificate in Quantitative Biology. She was an undergraduate researcher under Dr. Gretchen Rollwagen-Bollens and Dr. Stephen Bollens, who co-ran the Aquatic Ecology Lab at WSUV.

Kaitlin Perkins, M.S. Systems Ecology