Five WMU doctoral students named Frostic fellows
April 19, 2011 | WMU News
KALAMAZOO--Five Western Michigan University doctoral candidates have been named recipients of Gwen Frostic Doctoral Fellowships during the 2010-11 academic year.
Frostic Doctoral Fellowships are given twice annually by WMU's Graduate College. They are made possible by an endowment from the estate of the late poet, artist and naturalist Gwen Frostic, a 1929 WMU alumna. The competitive fellowships ranged in amount from $1,000 to $4,000 and will assist doctoral students in all fields with dissertation expenses, including tuition and fees, materials and travel.
The first round of 2010-11 Gwen Frostic Doctoral Fellowship recipients and their research areas are:
- Michelle Barger, a geosciences student from Kalamazoo, conducts research on the actions of organic acids on soils and sediments and potential applications to environmental geochemistry and radioactive waste disposal. Her dissertation, "Influence of Organic Acids on UO2+2 Adsorption to Kaolinite," examines the potential of various organic acids to bind byproducts of nuclear waste to a common clay mineral. Her dissertation advisor is Dr. Carla Koretsky, associate professor of geosciences.
- J. Adam Bennett, a psychology student from Gastonia, N.C., studies behavioral pharmacology and the mechanisms by which drugs exert their control over behavior. In his dissertation "Elucidating Behavioral Mechanisms of Drug Action via Log-Survivor Analysis," he investigates the means by which two drugs may disrupt behavioral mechanisms of motor control and motivation. His dissertation advisor is Dr. Cynthia Pietras, associate professor of psychology. Bennett earned his bachelor's degree in psychology from the University of North Carolina-Greensboro and his master's in psychology from the University of North Carolina-Wilmington. He has been a graduate teaching assistant and was a recipient of the Graduate College's Graduate Student Research Grant at WMU. He also received a research stipend from the University of North Carolina in 2003 and a Research Experiences for Undergraduates Grant from the National Science Foundation for 2001-02.
- Michael Buchalski, a biological sciences student from Stevensville, Mich., studies the consequences of habitat degradation on population dynamics in his dissertation "Gene Flow at Different Spatial Scales: From the Mating System to Landscape Patterns of Movement of Spix's Disk-winged Bat (Thyroptera tricolor)." In his research conducted in Costa Rica on these foliage-roosting bats, he examines relationships among mating patterns, species dispersal, genetic variation, and effects of landscape degradation. His dissertation advisor is Dr. Maarten Vonhof, associate professor of biological science. Buchalski earned his bachelor's degree in zoology from Michigan State University. He received numerous awards from WMU's Graduate College as well as the Department of Biological Sciences Graduate Research Award, and he is a member of Phi Kappa Phi honor society and Golden Key International Honor Society. He is the recipient of scholarships from the American Museum of Natural History and Bat Conservation International.
- Katherine Ellison, a history student from Freeland, Mich., examines the expansion of executive power in the United States government in her dissertation "The Structure of Power: The Origins of the Imperial Presidency and the Framework for Executive Power, 1941-1954." In her research, she bridges the fields of history and political science, tracing the relationship between the rise of the imperial presidency and a state of perpetual warfare in the second half of the twentieth century. Her dissertation advisor is Dr. Edwin Martini, associate professor of history. Ellison earned her bachelor's degree in education and her master's degree in history, both from Central Michigan University. She is the recipient of the Graduate Student Research Fund Grant, All-University Graduate Teaching Effectiveness Award, Department of History Graduate Teaching Effectiveness Award at the doctoral level, Department of History Research Assistant Award as well as a Department of History graduate student mentor and president of the History Graduate Student Organization.
- Travis Hayden, a geosciences student from Portage, Mich., has been part of a National Science Foundation international research team studying ocean drilling in Antarctica and continues this research in his dissertation "Tectonics, Ice and Backstripping in the Ross Sea, Antarctica." Using various kinds of computer modeling, he proposes to increase understanding of tectonic plate motion in the West Antarctic Rift System that separates West and East Antarctica. His dissertation advisor is Dr. Michelle Kominz, professor of geosciences. Hayden earned his master's in geology at WMU, his bachelor's in geology from the University of Michigan, and his associate's degree in science from Glen Oaks Community College. His honors at WMU include the Department of Geosciences Graduate Student Research Award 2010, Graduate Student Travel Award 2010, All University Graduate Student Teaching 2008, Annual Celebration of Research and Creativity Winner 2009, Department of Geosciences Graduate Student Teaching Award. He received the 2009 ANDRILL, or Antarctic Geological Drilling, scholarship for Urbino Summer School in Paleoclimatology in Urbino, Italy; and the 2008 International Continental Scientific Drilling Program scholarship for Scientific Drilling Training Workshop in Windischeschenbach, Germany.