Montana State University

Seven MSU grads receive NSF Graduate Research Fellowships

June 11, 2013 -- MSU News Service

MSU alumni receive NSF Research Graduate Fellowships.

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Tel: (406) 994-4571

BOZEMAN – Seven Montana State University graduates who plan to research everything from stream flow in the Little Belt Mountains to molecular genetics at Harvard University have received National Science Foundation fellowships.

The Graduate Research Fellowship gives each recipient at least $30,000 a year for three years to attend graduate school and conduct their research.

The 2013 recipients come from Bozeman, Butte, Great Falls, Helena, Kalispell, Pony, and Rockford, Ill. They are:

Anna Bergstrom of Rockford, Ill. A 2011 MSU graduate in land resources analysis and management, she plans to spend at least the first two years of her fellowship pursuing her master’s degree at the University of Montana and the third year starting work on her Ph.D.  She will conduct research at the Tenderfoot Creek Experimental Forest in Montana’s Little Belt Mountains, specifically trying to understand the effects of topography, geology and vegetation on stream flow between peak snowmelt and late summer. She may eventually teach at a university or conduct research for a government organization. Bergstrom worked in Bryan McGlynn’s lab at MSU as an undergraduate and post-graduate. She then worked with McGlynn as a research associate in the Nicholas School of the Environment at Duke University.

Kevin Harlen of Helena. Harlen, as an MSU undergraduate student, worked for three years with Trevor Douglas, Regents Professor in MSU’s Department of Chemistry/Biochemistry and director of MSU’s Center for Bio-Inspired Nanomaterials. Harlen worked on a variety of projects that involved such things as the assembly and disassembly of protein cages. He also traveled to South Africa with a group of MSU students conducting scientific outreach.  A 2010 graduate in cell biology, Harlen will use his fellowship to research molecular genetics in the Department of Genetics at Harvard Medical School. He would eventually like to become a professor.

Ethan Keeler of Butte. A 2012 MSU graduate in electrical engineering, he is currently working as a research associate for the MSU Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering.  He will use his Graduate Research Fellowship at the University of Washington where he will pursue his Ph.D.  He is interested in a career in industry where he can apply electrical engineering in biomedical technologies.

Catherine Kirkland of Bozeman. A 2008 MSU graduate in civil engineering and 1997 graduate in anthropology/sociology from Rhodes College, she is working toward a doctoral degree in environmental engineering at MSU. For that, she is working in the Magnetic Resonance Lab with professor Sarah Codd. They are developing instrumentation to monitor biofilm and biogeochemical processes in the subsurface. Her career plans are likely to be oriented toward academia/research with a long-term goal of working internationally on water and sanitation projects in developing countries.

Tiphani Lynn of Great Falls.  A 2012 MSU graduate in cell biology and neuroscience, she will use her Graduate Research Fellowship at MSU to earn a doctorate in neuroscience. She already works in professor Charles Gray’s laboratory where her research focuses on the mechanisms of visual perception. Eventually she would like to open her own laboratory and work in academia.

Brie Webber from Kalispell.  A 2012 MSU graduate in civil engineering (bio resources option), she will use her fellowship to earn her doctorate at the University of California, Berkeley. Starting this fall, she will study environmental engineering, with a focus on advanced water treatment technologies/water quality. Webber said she decided to become an engineer because she has a passion for the outdoors and wanted to make a difference by helping preserve the planet. She hopes to work first in the engineering industry. In the far future, she may return to academia to become a professor.

Kaysha Young of Pony. A recent MSU graduate with a double major in mechanical engineering and mechanical engineering technology, she will use her Graduate Research Fellowship to earn a master’s degree in industrial engineering at MSU. Young currently works at the Western Transportation Institute and said she is extremely interested in transportation research and improving the safety of roadway systems. After finishing her master’s degree, she would like to design infant car seats.

Evelyn Boswell, (406) 994-5135 or