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will Kochtitzky

In August 2014, Will Kochtitzky ’16 traveled to the Mittivakkat glacier on Ammassalik Island in Greenland on a trip sponsored by John ’78 and Susan Wyckoff Pohl ’80.

Four Dickinsonians earn prestigious National Science Foundation fellowships

by Tony Moore

The National Science Foundation recently announced the 2016 awardees for its Graduate Research Fellowship Program (NSF GRFP), and four Dickinsonians—three alumni and one current student—are joining the ranks of the oldest graduate fellowship of its kind.

On the alumni front:

  • Olivia Wilkins ’15 (under the NSF’s Physical Chemistry-Astrochemistry fellowship category), will be pursuing a Ph.D. in chemistry at the California Institute of Technology, focusing on astrochemistry research. The former chemistry and mathematics major’s work will involve a combination of laboratory astrochemistry and telescope observations to study complex organic molecules in space.
  • Juliane Bowman Brown ’94 (Environmental Engineering) will be a doctoral student in environmental engineering science within the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering at the Colorado School of Mines in Golden, Colo. The former geology major will focus on the source apportionment, fate, toxicity and risk of perfluoroalkyl acids (PFAAs) in food crops grown in urban/peri-urban agricultural communities.
  • And while Anna McGinn ’14 (Social Sciences–International Relations) doesn’t know where she’ll be studying, the former environmental studies major will be exploring environmental policy in a public policy and international affairs program.

Will Kochtitzky '16 (under an NSF Geosciences-Glaciology fellowship) was the student awardee, and the earth sciences major and 2016 Baird Sustainability Fellow plans to attend the School of Earth and Climate Sciences at the University of Maine, where he’ll study ice sheet glaciology.

The fellowship—which has been directly supporting grad students in STEM fields since 1952—provides a three-year annual stipend of $34,000, plus $12,000 for tuition and fees and myriad opportunities for international research and professional development.

“This gives me the freedom to work on whichever research project appeals to me,” says Kochtitzky, who plans on continuing his collaboration with his Dickinson professors while working on research at his next institution. “I can also continue my collaboration with Peruvian colleagues on a glacierized volcano, the subject of my senior thesis. I am excited to be continuing my education at the next level.”

Kochtitzky gives credit to his Dickinson experiences for helping him land the fellowship, experiences that include traveling to Iceland, Greenland, Canada and Peru with Associate Professor of Earth Sciences Ben Edwards.

“I could not have done any of this without the help of Dickinson,” Kochtitzky says, calling out Maria Bruno, assistant professor of archaeologyMarcus Key, Joseph Priestley professor of natural philosophy; Jeff Niemitz, adjunct faculty in earth sciences; Peter Sak, associate professor of earth sciences, and Edwards as major influences. “Particularly Professor Edwards. Ben has been an incredible mentor, and without a doubt, I would not have won this award without him.”

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Published April 19, 2016