Grad students receive grants to aid summer ’09 projects


Thirty NMU graduate students have received the 2009 Excellence in Education Award, which consists of $1,500 to support research and creative works within their field.

With recipients coming from a number of departments, the majority are within the English and Biology departments. The grant will be used for various projects, from conducting research on brain tumors to writing novels, each recipient has a different use for the funding. Some spend it on supplies and equipment, while others spend the appropriations on traveling and living expenses during their research or creative study.

Dean of Graduate Studies and Research Cynthia A. Prosen, said that for the past three years the amount awarded has been increased from $1,000 to $1,500.

“This award helps students finish their graduate study in a more timely fashion because they don’t have to go home or work,” she said.

First year MFA student, Jason Shrontz is traveling by train to New York, Los Angeles, Portland, Ore., and Albuquerque, N.M. to conduct research for his novel. The book, titled “This Monster Land,” examines the struggles and hardships of the current economy and how different demographics and regions throughout the country are affected, he said.

“I am very excited and a little overwhelmed about having this kind of opportunity,” Shrontz said. “This is the first time I will visit most of these cities.”

Some recipients, like first-year biology graduate student Julie Howard, plan to use the money to attend conferences. Focusing in Fishery, Howard will present data which she has collected at an American Fisheries Society conference in Nashville, Tenn., this summer.

“I think that this endeavor is very beneficial for students and the money can be used in so many different ways,” Howard said. “In my situation, it will give me a chance to practice presenting my data and receive feedback from experts in the field.”