13 Biology and Chemistry Graduate Students to Receive Department of Education Fellowships

The University of Maryland’s College of Computer, Mathematical, and Natural Sciences recently received two U.S. Department of Education Graduate Assistance in Areas of National Need (GAANN) awards that will provide 13 three-year fellowships for graduate students in biology and chemistry.

Biology Professor and Department Chair Bill Fagan received one of the awards to strengthen and formalize the university’s “mathematics in biology” graduate training program. Responding to the national need for scholars and teachers in the biological sciences who are also broadly trained in mathematics and quantitative approaches, the award will support eight biology doctoral students. When selected, the students will receive enhanced opportunities to develop mathematical skill sets relevant to their research interests in the life sciences; extensive, formal training in biological and mathematical pedagogy provided by the university’s teaching and learning transformation center; and supervised teaching experiences at the intersection of mathematics and biology.

Originally funded in 2006, the GAANN program in the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry directed by Professor Lyle Isaacs received a three-year continuation grant. Five chemistry Ph.D. candidates, Carmen Cartisano (advisor: Neil Blough), Christopher Hernandez (advisor: John Fourkas), Kim Huynh (advisor: Bryan Eichhorn), Tessy Thomas (advisor: Lawrence Sita) and Austin Virtue (advisor: Efrain Rodriguez), who intend to pursue an academic career, will receive a year-long supervised teaching experience. They will obtain semester-long experiences in a traditional lecture-format, take courses in the pedagogy of chemical education and mentor an undergraduate student in the research laboratory.

“The training this program provides has helped the fellows launch successful careers in academia, government laboratories and in the chemical and biotech industry,” said Isaacs.

The GAANN program provides fellowships, with stipends up to $34,000, to assist graduate students with excellent records who demonstrate financial need and plan to pursue the highest degree available in their course study at the institution in a field designated as an area of national need. 

Media Relations Contact: Abby Robinson, 301-405-5845, abbyr@umd.edu

Writer: Mary Kearney