Two PEER Graduate Students Receive Competitive National Awards

Two UT graduate students have received competitive national awards that will enable them to continue research in their fields of study.

Both are all scholars in the Program for Excellence and Equity in Research (PEER), a graduate training initiative funded by a grant from the General Medical Sciences of the National Institutes of Health. The program is designed to increase the number of students from underrepresented groups who pursue doctoral degrees in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics, and attain careers in biomedical research.

Jordan Bush, a graduate student in ecology and evolutionary biology and a first-year PEER Scholar, received the National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship. The award comes with a $34,000 stipend for three years and provides the university additional funds to cover tuition expenses. It also offers professional development opportunities and travel awards. Bush is in Florida this summer doing field work on Anolis lizards for her dissertation. She is performing behavioral observations to identify the behaviors that allow invasive reptiles to be successful.

Quentin Johnson, a doctoral student studying genome science and technology and a previous PEER scholar from 2010 to 2012, received two awards. The first is the National Institute for Mathematical and Biological Synthesis’s (NIMBioS) Postdoctoral Fellowship in Mathematical Biology, which will allow him to continue research in computational biochemistry for up to two years as a postdoctoral fellow. The second, the Science Alliance Graduate Fellowship from the Division of Biology, paid for various expenses related to his transition from a graduate student to a postdoc. He is teaching a precalculus course for the Bridge Program. He is finishing his dissertation and will graduate in August.