OSU graduate students receive National Science Foundation recognition

Ms. Marissa Rice, an OSU Department of Zoology graduate student, has been awarded the esteemed National Science Foundation (NSF) Graduate Research Fellowship (approximately $126,000 over three years). Two additional Zoology graduate students, Ms. Courtney Passow and Mr. George Prounis, and one incoming graduate student, Ms. Lynne Beaty, have been awarded honorable mention. Of the 12,669 applications received program wide in 2012, only 2,000 fellowships and 1,835 honorable mentions were awarded. The program recognizes and supports outstanding graduate students in NSF-supported science, technology, engineering, and mathematics disciplines who are pursuing research-based masters and doctoral degrees.

Marissa Rice will investigate the influence of the neuro-hormone oxytocin on social and spatial memory and how it shapes reproductive tactics. Courtney Passow will study the genomic basis of adaptation and speciation in fish inhabiting toxic sulfide springs. George Prounis will investigate how the creation of new neurons in adulthood influences monogamy. Lynne Beaty will investigate how prey state and the information about predation risk available to them affect prey and predator spatial distributions and population dynamics. Marisa Rice and George Prounis are advised by Dr. Alex Ophir, Courtney Passow is advised by Dr. Michi Tobler, and Lynne Beaty will be advised by Dr. Barney Luttbeg.

The Graduate Research Fellowship program has a long history of selecting recipients who achieve high levels of success in their future academic and professional careers. Past fellows include numerous Nobel Prize winners, U.S. Secretary of Energy, Steven Chu, Google founder, Sergey Brin and Freakonomics co-author, Steven Levitt.

Rice, Marissa. 30 March 2012. NSF: Graduate Research Fellowship Program (GRFP). Oxytocin: A mechanistic link between spatial memory and mating decisions. $126,000. 2013-2018.

Passow, Courtney. 30 March 2012. NSF: Graduate Research Fellowship Program (GRFP). Elucidating the genomic basis of local adaptation in Poecilia mexicana. Honorable Mention. 2012.

Prounis, George. 30 March 2012. NSF: Graduate Research Fellowship Program (GRFP). Learning to love: How does adult neurogenesis influence monogamous mating tactics? Honorable Mention. 2012.

Beaty, Lynne. 30 March 2012. NSF: Graduate Research Fellowship Program (GRFP). Toads that have lost their touch: A tale of introduced species and anti-predator strategies. Honorable Mention. 2012.