Baylor Student Receives EPA Fellowship

Oct. 1, 2008

by Frank Raczkiewicz

Jason Taylor, a Baylor University biology doctoral student, has received a highly competitive Science to Achieve Results (STAR) fellowship from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

The fellowship, which is limited to the most outstanding graduate students in ecological and environmental science in the country, provides $111,000 over a three year period to cover tuition, stipend and research expenses. It is the first STAR doctoral fellowship ever awarded to a Baylor student.

"This is truly a unique opportunity," said Taylor, who received his bachelor's and master's degrees in biology from the University of North Texas. "The developing externally-funded research program here at Baylor has provided me with huge opportunities in terms of doing a lot of work prior to my dissertation work. These opportunities have allowed me to formulate stronger research ideas. Ideas that I probably would not have developed without the experience I have gained over the last two years while at Baylor."

Taylor was selected based on several academic criteria, including the merit of his dissertation proposal, which involves two related studies that will contribute to the refinement and development of ecological indicators of nutrient pollution in freshwater streams. The first study will evaluate how two common fish change the response of algae to nutrient pollution.

The second study will assess how nutrient pollution affects who eats what in streams. Changes in food webs may serve as indicators of nutrient pollution. Results from both of these studies will be used to help water quality managers set ecological criteria for nutrients and prevent degradation of water supplies for both freshwater animals and human uses.

The STAR fellowship program aims to encourage students to obtain advanced degrees and pursue careers in an environmental field. This goal is consistent with the immediate and long term mission of EPA, which is to protect public health and the environment. This year, only 32 fellowships were awarded out of more than 1,400 proposals and only four of those were in the aquatic sciences field.

For more information, contact Dr. Ryan King at (254) 710-2150.

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