Rutgers School of Environmental and Biological Sciences (SEBS) was awarded $500,000 in Graduate Assistance in Areas of National Need (GAANN) funding by the U.S. Department of Education to support students pursuing a doctoral degree in Environmental Sciences.
The GAANN program provides grants to academic departments and programs of institutions of higher education in the U.S. to fund graduate fellowships for students with excellent academic records and demonstrated financial need.
Principal investigator of the Rutgers GAANN grant is Lisa Rodenburg, professor in the Department of Environmental Sciences, who also directs the Graduate Program in Environment Sciences at the School of Graduate Studies.
“This grant provides students with great opportunities to study, at the highest levels, a broad range of topics, including the Environmental Engineering and Exposure Science options,” said Rodenburg.
“This is an impactful program that is open to both Rutgers and non-Rutgers students, and we encourage students to apply for the fellowship,” she added, stressing that students from underrepresented groups and women are strongly encouraged to apply in order to award a diverse pool of candidates.
The fellowship provides a yearly stipend of up to $34,000 for a total of three years. Eligible applicants must be U.S. citizens or permanent residents. Applications are due by January 15, 2022, and selected fellows will start in the fall semester.
Diana Ortiz-Montalvo, who received a fellowship under a previous GAANN grant at Rutgers, credits the program with allowing her to earn a doctoral degree.
“Thanks to the GAANN fellowship, I became the first in my family to obtain a Ph.D. It empowered me during a crucial time in my professional development and kindled my scientific career,” she said.
A University of Puerto Rico undergraduate, Ortiz-Montalvo graduated from Rutgers in 2013 with a doctoral degree in Environmental Sciences. She is currently a research chemist at the U.S. Department of Commerce’s National Institute of Standards and Technology, one of the nation’s oldest physical science laboratories.
Carl Leikhram, assistant dean of recruitment and advising in the Office of Academic Programs at SEBS, is working to highlight this opportunity among undergraduates, especially those on the verge of graduating and who are thinking about graduate school in environmental sciences.
“The GAANN program offers substantial financial assistance to students. Our hope is to incentivize current seniors considering graduate school or those who have been accepted at a grantee institution to consider applying for a GAAN fellowship,” said Leikhram.
The grant covers tuition and fees, and other educational expenses related to the academic program in which the fellow is enrolled.
“Our goal is to get as many qualified candidates as possible to apply for this opportunity. That includes undergraduates from across Rutgers University as well as students from other higher education institutions in-state or out-of-state, including Puerto Rico and other U.S. territories. This opportunity will change the lives of students who might have considered a graduate education to be financially impossible,” emphasized Leikhram.
Contact Lisa Rodenburg at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information on this impactful GAANN opportunity.
This article was originally published by the SEBS/NJAES Newsroom on December 1, 2021.