Field problem presented: Vern Laux – Birdquest
Stephanie Koch is working towards her PhD by doing research on shorebirds and these days she is soaring in rarified air because she is the only URI student to be awarded a Graduate Research Fellowship from the National Science Foundation.
In fact Dr. Peter Paton, chair of the CELS Department of Natural Resources Science, and Koch’s advisor, says that few, if any, enrolled URI grad students have ever won that NSF fellowship, making the award extra special.
Koch already has a big honor in that she is currently an IGERT (Integrative Graduate Education and Research Traineeship) fellow which ends this fall. The NSF Fellowship will start then and should be more than sufficient to carry her financially until she gets her doctorate, probably in the fall of 2008. Her mentors on the IGERT program, a multidiscipline project on coastal issues, are Dr. Peter August and Dr. Judith Swift.
Koch also works for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. For the last 13 years she has been at the Monomoy National Wildlife refuge on Cape Cod and in 2006 started a study on the impact of people on shorebirds in the refuge.