From Record-Tying 11 Stony Brook Students Win Prestigious NSF-GRFP Fellowships on Stony Brook News, April 19, 2019.

Savannah LaBua (Marine Vertebrate Biology)

Savannah LaBua (Marine Vertebrate Biology)

In a record-tying performance, 11 Stony Brook University students – including nine women – have been awarded prestigious Graduate Research Fellowships (NSF GRFP) by the National Science Foundation. Another six SBU students earned Honorable Mentions.  Among those students was Savannah LaBua, a graduate of the Marine Vertebrate Biology program at SoMAS.

Currently working at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), LaBua studies Pacific herring, a critical component of the eastern Gulf of Alaska ecosystem, providing a viable food source for humpback whales, sea lions, seabirds, other fish, etc. Stocks have experienced significant declines in abundance since the development of industrial fishing. The Alaska Department of Fish and Game has closed fishing for eight of the ten stocks managed in Southeast Alaska but most have failed to recover since the 1980’s. Data and knowledge gained from this study would be of great interest in marine ecology because it directly addresses questions of what factors maintain and distribute variability in marine populations and the importance of their influence.

Savannah plans to “start graduate school this Fall at Florida International University under the supervision of Dr. Kevin Boswell.” She met Dr. Boswell through her participation in the National Student Exchange program at Stony Brook University. Savannah credits her participation in the program for providing “me with an opportunity to build my scientific network, acquire new skills and expand my ecological toolbox.” She studied for two semesters at Florida International University under the supervision of Dr. Kevin Boswell, “where we implemented active acoustics and remote sensing technology to examine biological interactions across a variety of habitats.”  The research she conducted as an undergraduate reflected well in her NSF GRFP application.

The NSF GRFP was established in 1952 to help develop and boost diversity of the country’s science and engineering research workforce by supporting graduate students who pursue research-based master’s and doctoral degrees in NSF-support STEM disciplines.

“This award is crucial to promoting social mobility for our most promising STEM students and to providing them with the freedom to develop their own research agendas,” said Jen Green, External Scholarships and Fellowships Advisor. “I was humbled by the talent and hustle displayed by this cohort and am thrilled by the university community’s celebration of their accomplishments in this year’s NSF GRFP competition.”

Students interested in the NSF GRFP and other fellowships, should visit the Office of External Scholarships and Fellowship Advising for more information.

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