Rausser College graduate students receive National Science Foundation awards

April 18, 2022

Congratulations to the Rausser College students who have received the prestigious National Science Foundation (NSF) Graduate Research Fellowship. The fellowship supports exceptional students who are pursuing research-based master’s and doctoral degrees in STEM disciplines.

“We are extremely proud to see current and incoming graduate students recognized with such a distinguished fellowship,” said Dean David Ackerly. “This award exemplifies the outstanding research produced by graduate students in Rausser College and throughout UC Berkeley.”

In the Department of Environmental Science, Policy, and Management, graduate students Tyus D. Williams, Rose Mohammadi, and Natasha Shannon were awarded NSF fellowships. Williams’ research focuses on how anthropogenic influences affect the interaction and competition between carnivores: a group of species that ranges from bears and wolves to skunks, seals, and weasels. Mohammadi uses field experiments and time series modeling to research how environmental stressors—like drought—affect food webs and metacommunity stability. Shannon investigates the cultural dimensions of the human-environment relationship, particularly as they relate to agriculture and food systems, and how participation in different types of agrifood systems impacts human-environment understanding. 

Three graduate students in the Department of Plant and Microbial Biology (PMB)—Alexa Zytnick, Eliotte Garling, and Katie Shalvarjian—also received the award. Zytnick is a PhD candidate studying the biomining of rare earth elements. Garling’s research focuses on bridging the knowledge gap of how molecular signals between individual cells amplify to induce large-scale changes in population structures and behaviors. Shalvarjian is a second-year Microbiology grad student in the Nayak lab where she studies gene regulation in methane-producing archaea (methanogens). PMB alumna María Nguyễn (BS ’19 Microbial Biology, BA ‘19 Molecular and Cell Biology), a researcher in the laboratory of Professor Kimberley Seed, was also selected as an NSF fellowship recipient. 

Graduate students Jill Moraski, in the Energy & Resources Group, and Alekhya Govindaraju, in PMB, received an honorable mention.

Several incoming graduate students will join Rausser College supported by NSF research fellowships. Dylan Valle Rogers, Miguel Ochoa, Shayla Husted, and Benji Reade-Malagueno will join ESPM, and Darian Doakes will join PMB.

To learn more about the fellowship, visit the NSF Graduate Research Fellowship Program website. To learn more about the recipients and their field of study, visit the Award Offers and Honorable Mentions List.