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EPA awards $1 million to Northern California graduate students through research fellowships

Release Date: 10/22/2014
Contact Information: Suzanne Skadowski, 415-972-3165,

SAN FRANCISCO – Today the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency announced $1 million in fellowship grants to 12 students at Northern California universities conducting research and studying in environmental disciplines. These students selected will work on a variety of projects covering topics including climate change, public health and sustainability. The fellows were selected from the University of California, Berkeley, the University of California, Davis, the University of California, Santa Cruz, and Stanford University. More than $8.6 million in fellowship grants were announced to 105 graduate students across the nation.

“These fellowships support our next generation scientists and engineers as they earn advanced degrees in environmental sciences and do cutting-edge research,” said Jared Blumenfeld, EPA’s Regional Administrator for the Pacific Southwest. “EPA’s goal is to ensure that our nation continues to have the scientific knowledge to meet environmental challenges such as climate change.”

The Science to Achieve Results (STAR) fellowship program will support scientists and engineers who are investigating environmental challenges such as the effects of climate change on waterborne pathogens and antibiotic resistant bacteria, the interaction between pollutants and infectious disease, restoring streams to improve water quality and fish habitat, mitigating the impacts of climate change on plant communities by transforming the way we restore wetlands, and improving our understanding of where and why harmful algal blooms occur by examining the way nutrients move through river systems.

The following STAR fellowship projects were selected from universities in Northern California. Each graduate student will receive $84,000 funding for two years of research.

University of California – Berkeley
Project title: “Investigating spatial sensitivity in life cycle assessment: a method for assessing large-scale technology deployment”

Project title: “Identifying residential energy efficiency opportunities with temperature and energy use data”

Project title: “When do good algae go bad? Flow and nutrient thresholds for harmful algal blooms down a river network”

University of California – Davis
Project title: “Predicting return of ecosystem services based on impacts of invasive ecosystem engineers”

Project title: “Biodiversity of native and invasive suspension feeders affects water quality and potential for harmful algal blooms”

Project title: “Maintaining ecosystem function under climate change: understanding and managing plant-soil microbe community dynamics”

University of California - Santa Cruz
Project title: “Mitigating the impacts of climate change on plant communities through wetland restoration design”

Project title: “Pollinator losses and plant function: an assessment of pollination network resilience in the face of climate change”

Project title: “Assessment of contaminant load and its relationship to foraging in a marine top predator”

Stanford University
Project title: “Minimizing climate change impacts and feedbacks: multidisciplinary and strategic utility-scale solar energy development”

Project title: “Drivers of fecal contamination in the environment of urban and rural areas of Tanzania and the associated impact on ecological health”

Project title: “The role of changing polar phytoplankton communities in global carbon cycling”

The graduate students from the STAR fellowship program have been involved in critical and cutting edge environmental science and research opportunities for almost two decades. Since the inception of the STAR fellowship program in 1995, EPA has been committed to supporting students interested in environmental science fields. 2015 will mark 20 years of funding STAR fellowship students who have made cross cutting impact in the environmental science field. Since its inception, STAR has awarded fellowships to 1,884 students, totaling approximately $65 million in funding.

Many STAR fellows continue on to find success in the public and private sector focusing their efforts on environmental and public health issues. Jeff Hobson, a 1996 STAR fellow from the University of California, Berkeley, is now the Deputy Director of Transform, California’s leading transportation advocate and an award-winning nonprofit organization working in the San Francisco Bay Area and California. TransForm's campaigns have helped raise over $8 billion for sustainable and socially-just transportation and led to ground-breaking policies linking transportation and land use planning.

Full listing of the 2013 STAR Fellows:

For more information about the STAR Fellowship Program:

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