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Funding Opportunities:

The Center for Environmental geoChemistry and Genomics (CECG)


2014 CECG SUMMER FELLOWSHIP PROGRAM - click here for an application

Please forward the following information to your students regarding a competition for CECG summer funding. Genomics-enabled projects and projects involving collaborations across research groups are particularly encouraged. The deadline for applications is May 12, 2014.

Application materials should include the following:

1. Student's curriculum vita, emphasizing pertinent work and research experience. Include information about science and mathematics courses completed.
2. An unofficial copy of the student's most recent transcript.
3. Short text (~1500 words) outlining the proposed research, including environmental focus and implications.
4. Letter of recommendation (in a sealed envelope signed by the faculty) from a faculty member familiar with the student's work in class or laboratory settings. This letter should address such characteristics as the work ethic, maturity, intellectual preparation, and potential.
5. Letter of recommendation and invitation (in a sealed envelope signed by the faculty) from the CECG faculty member whose laboratory will host the student. This letter should describe the research project in which the student will be involved including environmental focus and implications.
6. List your advisor’s name as well as the name of the faculty supervising your research.

Letters of recommendation must come from two separate faculty members. Students are expected to give a presentation describing their completed research in a CECG seminar at the end of the summer, or at the subsequent Environmental Chemistry and Microbiology Student Symposium (ECMSS).

Applications will be reviewed by a selection committee drawn from CECG faculty.

Questions about the program should be addressed to Deb Lambert (dql6@psu.edu).

The Center for Environmental geoChemistry and Genomics (CECG) accepts fellowship applications for Penn State undergraduate or graduate students to pursue work on research topics related to environmental chemistry and genomics during summer sessions. This is a broad request considering research areas ranging across the biological and agricultural sciences, engineering, and earth and mineral sciences. Genomics-enabled projects and projects involving substantive collaborations across research groups are particularly encouraged. We fund proposals with a 50% matching component.  Students submitting winning proposals receive up to $2500 from CECG, to be paid via wage payroll, and we expect the host faculty member to provide at least that amount from other sources. Students are selected on the basis of intellectual promise as evidenced by their academic record, proposal text, and faculty recommendations.

Recipients of the 2013 Summer Fellowships include:
Jason Boettger, Department of Geosciences, Graduate student
Jennifer Boulay, Department of Biology, Graduate student
Mansor Muammar, Department of Geosciences, Graduate student

Recipients of the 2012 Summer Fellowships include:
Laurence Bird, Department of Geosciences, Graduate student
Alexandra Pearce, Department of Geobiology, Undergraduate student
Julie Weitzman, Department of Crop and Soil Sciences, Graduate student

Recipients of the 2012 Summer Fellowships include:
Laurence Bird, Department of Geosciences, Graduate student
Alex Pearce, Department of Geobiology, Undergraduate student
Julie Weitzman, Department of Crop and Soil Sciences, Graduate student

Recipients of the 2011 Summer Fellowships include:
Carrie Clippard, Department of Chemistry, Undergraduate student
Camille Stephen, Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, Graduate student
Robbie Wolford, Department of Civil & Environmental Engineering,  Graduate student

Recipients of the 2010 Summer Fellowships include:
Khadouja Harouaka, Department of Geosciences, graduate student
Stephen Meckler, Department of Chemistry, Undergraduate student
Cara Nordberg, Depar
tment of Toxicology and Environmental Resource Management, Undergraduate student
Carla Rosenfeld, Department of Crop and Soil Sciences, Graduate Student


Recipients of the 2009 Summer Fellowships include:

Meredith A. Hill Bembenic, Depart of Energy & Geo-Environmental Engineering, graduate student
Quanying Du, Department of Ecology, graduate student
Prashanti Iyer, Department of Integrative Biosciences, graduate student
Jana James, Department of Forensic Science, graduate student
Ortiz Rivera, Department of Chemistry, graduate student
Sara Smith, Department of Forensic Science, graduate student

Recipients of the 2008 Summer Fellowships include:
Daniel Hummer, Department of Geosciences, graduate student
Daniel Jones, Department of Geosciences, graduate student
Daniel Silverman, Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, undergraduate student
Michelle Williams-Tober, Department of Ecology, graduate student

Recipients of the 2007 Summer Fellowships include:
Aaron Diefendorf, Department of Geosciences, graduate student
Vanathi Duraisamy, Department of Agronomy, graduate student
Venkata Pradeep Indrakanti, Depart of Energy and Geo-Environmental Engineering, graduate student
Nancy Washton, Department of Chemistry, graduate student

Ren Zhiyong, Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, graduate student


RESEARCH INITIATION GRANTS

The objective of the program is to seed new efforts in the general area of environmental geochemistry and genomics at Penn State. Research projects may involve field studies, laboratory experiments or computation and can focus on any area of chemical research that has significant environmental implications. We encourage submission of proposals to fund the initiation of research projects for researchers to enter new fields that may lead to future extramural funding. We also encourage submission of cross-college proposals or proposals from personnel early in or returning to their research careers.

Winners of the 2011 RIG competition:.

Jenn Macalady, Department of Geosciences, and Bill Burgos, Department of Environmental Engineering, $9,000. "Biogeochemistry of Coal-associated Iron Mounds”

Ken Davis, Thomas Lauvaux, and Soumaya Belmecheri, Department of Meteorology, $5,000.
“Preliminary Investigation of Trace Gas Emissions from Marcellus Shale Drilling”

Winners of the 2009 RIG competition:

Jose D. Fuentes, Department of Meteorology, and Karl Mueller, Department of Chemistry, $10,000. "Environmental Controls on Floral Volatile Emissions."

Lee Kump and Kamini Singha, Department of Geosciences, $10,000."The Ecosystem of the Green Lake (Fayetteville, NY State) Microbial Community."

Awards of up to $10,000 each may be available. Funding derives from the CECG (funded by the College of Earth and Mineral Sciences and the Penn State Institutes of Energy and the Environment). Funds may be utilized to defray costs for project salary for graduate students and/or staff, materials and supplies, equipment, analytical fees, or travel; no funds may be used for faculty salary. All funds are General Funds, and all University policies must be followed for utilization of these funds. For example, no funds may be used for graduate tuition. Any faculty or staff member at Penn State may apply; however, investigators who have won RIGs in the past must propose significantly different research to be considered for funding. For budgeting purposes, researchers are encouraged to spend the money within the first 9 months of the award.

The proposal should be five pages or less (excluding references, figures, and CVs) and should include the following:

1. significance of and background to the research problem
2. objectives
3. research approach
4. description of personnel (with contact information) and equipment availability
5. proposed budget
6. name and address of one Penn State reviewer with competence in the area of research

Proposals are reviewed by a committee of environmental experts drawn from the Penn State faculty and staff. The judging committee is chosen by the CECG advisory board, which includes representatives from the College of Earth and Mineral Sciences, Eberly College of Science, College of Engineering, and College of Agricultural Sciences.

Proposal evaluation scheme:

Proposals are evaluated based upon the following scoring criteria, with each category weighted equally:

1) quality and feasibility of the work and its potential for impact in environmental chemistry and geochemistry (up to 5 points total);

2) potential for future funding, including novelty and significance of the project within fields of environmental chemistry and geochemistry (up to 5 points total);

3) quality of the research personnel and their publication record or potential: extra weight will be given toward projects incorporating significant contribution from personnel drawn from different colleges, personnel that are drawn from junior, pre-tenure levels, or personnel that have returned to the work force (up to five points total).

Past CECG Research Initiation Grant Winners

Doug Archibald, Crop and Soil Science, received a RIG for his proposal "Equipment to Facilitate Development of Efficient Infrared Spectroscopic Methods for Assessing Pools of Soil Organic Matter."

Thomas Mallouk, Chemistry, submitted the proposal "Anodic vs. Cathodic Control of the Reactivity of Zero-Valent Iron Nanoparticles for Soil and Ground Water Remediation" which will be jointly funded by Materials Research Institute and CECG.

Ming Tien, BMB, and Bruce Logan, Civil and Environmental Engineering,"Isolation and Characterization of Microbes Selected for Wastewater Microbial Fuel Cells." RIG to be co-funded by COE Environmental Institute.

Peter Heaney, Sridhar Komarneni, $10,000, "Real time structural analysis of heavy metal cation exchange reactions in anionic clays and manganese oxides."

Will White, Barry Scheetz, $10,000, "Characterization of an allophane-precipitating spring: A natural analog for acid mine drainage remediation systems."

Dave DeWalle, Dick Parizek, $10,000, "Tracers of surface water-groundwater interactions in an urban, karst watershed."

Dave Clifford, Caroline Burgess, $10,000, "Investigation of lignin depolymerization reactions for improved characterization and utiliztion of biomass."

Chris House, $8000, "Anaerobic Methane Oxidation: A Test of the Syntrophic Growth Hypothesis for Reverse Methanogenesis."

Bill Burgos, $10,000, "Using Mossbauer-Effect Spectroscopy to Investigate the Transformation of Iron- containing Phases under Environmental Conditions."

Jerzy Dec, $10,000, "The Roles of Poorly Crystalline Mineral Colloids and Enzymes in the Transformation of Organic Compounds in Soil."

Karl Mueller, $8000, "Heteronuclear Solid-State NMR Studies of the Structure and Corrosion Behavior of Sodium Aluminosilicate Glasses."

Serguei Lvov, $10,000, "Experimental Studies and Computer Simulation of the Environmentally Significant"