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2 Montana Ph.D. candidates receive EPA Research Fellowships


U.S. Environmental Protection Agency-sponsored fellowships will help a student at the University of Montana explore the role of a specific gene in suppressing an aggressive form of cancer known as mesothelioma and another fellow at Montana State University identify how underground microbes could keep selenium from mine wastes out of groundwater.

Bozeman resident Lisa Bithell Kirk, an EPA Science to Achieve Results fellow at Montana State University, and Missoula resident Amy Erbe, an EPA Greater Research Opportunities fellow at University of Montana, have received fellowships to help them pursue doctoral degrees in environmental studies.

All graduate fellows receive $37,000 per year to complete their degrees -- two years for masters; three years for doctorate. They join 96 more fellowships awarded by EPA across the nation, after more than 1,200 fellows competed for these highly prestigious fellowships that enable them to complete their degrees.

Fellows are from more than 69 colleges and universities in 31 states, Puerto Rico, and the District of Columbia. All are pursuing degrees in environmental areas of study that range from water quality to climate change to human health and many others.

“Everyone wins with this program,” said EPA Region 8 Administrator Robert E. Roberts. “We help educate these fellowship students who then become new academic researchers, government scientists, and science teachers. They, in turn, are training the next generation of scientists and engineers.”

All applications for EPA’s fellowship programs are rigorously peer reviewed. Since the program began in 1995, the EPA has awarded more than 2200 fellowships to students in almost every state and the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico.

EPA’s research office supports several fellowship programs in an effort to address our country’s most important environmental workforce needs. EPA’s Science to Achieve Results or STAR graduate fellowship program supports some of the nation’s most promising masters and doctoral candidates. This year, more than 1000 applicants competed for 69 fellowships.

EPA’s Greater Research Opportunities or GRO fellowship program helps to build capacity in universities with limited funding for research and development by awarding fellowships to students in environmental fields. The GRO fellowship program supports some of the nation’s most promising undergraduate and graduate degree candidates in environmental studies. More than 100 applicants competed this year for 29 fellowships.

EPA is now accepting applications from students for the 2008 STAR and GRO graduate fellowship programs with October 23, 2007, as the deadline for preliminary applications. The deadline for applications for the GRO undergraduate fellowship is December 19, 2007. Applicants must be U.S. citizens or be lawfully admitted to the United States for permanent residence. Application information can be found on the Internet at: To see a list of the winners of this year’s STAR and GRO fellowship awards, and for more information about these fellowship programs, visit the Web site at:

EPA relies on quality science as the basis for sound policy and decision-making. EPA’s laboratories, research centers, and grantees are building the scientific foundation needed to support the Agency’s mission to safeguard human health and the environment.


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