First year EEB graduate students Celia Miller and Jeff Shi, have been awarded National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowships. The awards have a long history of recipients who achieve high levels of success in their future academic and professional careers. They will receive $30,000 a year for three years and an additional $12,000 annually for healthcare and tuition.

Celia Miller is a Ph.D. student in the lab of Professor Brad Cardinale. She graduated with her B.S. from the University of Alaska Fairbanks in 2011, where she spent four years doing research on lichen systematics. “With my background in evolutionary biology, I've become fascinated with the feedback between ecology and evolution,” Miller said. “I plan to investigate the relationship between phylogeny and the coexistence of competing species. I'm particularly interested in the evolution of ecological niches (which evolves first – resource differences or climatic differences?), and the evolution of rare and abundant species. The Cardinale lab does (among other things) experimental ecological work in freshwater systems, and I will work with green algae communities.” During upcoming summers, she will do fieldwork in freshwater lakes in Michigan, at the E.S. George Reserve or other field stations.

Jeff Shi is a Ph. D. student working with advisors Professors Catherine Badgley and Dan Rabosky. “By nearly any metric, bats encompass a broad spectrum of mammalian diversity,” Shi said. “What evolutionary and ecological factors drive and limit this unparalleled radiation of diversity? I am particularly interested in the breadth of feeding behaviors within bats, which include insectivores, frugivores, sanguivores, and other specializations. This ecological diversity, importantly, is not uniformly distributed across bats. With my advisors Catherine Badgley and Dan Rabosky, I intend to investigate bat macroevolution, using a combination of field work, morphologic and genetic data, and computational phylogenetic techniques. My research will highlight the interactions of bats with other organisms and their environment as factors that have shaped their evolutionary history.”

The NSF GRF Program (GRFP) recognizes and supports outstanding graduate students in NSF-supported disciplines who are pursuing research-based master's and doctoral degrees in the U.S. and abroad. As the oldest graduate fellowship of its kind, the reputation of the GRFP follows recipients and often helps them become life-long leaders that contribute significantly to both scientific innovation and teaching. Past fellows include numerous Nobel Prize winners.

Benjamin Miller, a first year master’s student also received an NSF GRF that was announced earlier this year.