Microbiology Student Receives Prestigious Fellowship



Crystal Richards, a microbiology graduate student from Bozeman, has received a fellowship from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), as part of its Science to Achieve Results (STAR) program.

The EPA fellowship will provide a monthly stipend, cover all tuition and includes a small expense account for school related supplies and travel to conferences. The total award is $37,000 per year for up to 3 years. Richards received one of only 35 fellowships awarded in 2008, and is the only student in Montana to receive this award this year. “This year funding at the EPA was especially tight, so I was fortunate to make the cut,” said Richards. “The application process was somewhat laborious, requiring statements of my career objectives and experience, a personal interest narrative and an in depth research proposal.”

For her research Richards is examining water and biofilms as an exposure pathway to pathogenic bacteria on the Crow Indian Reservation. “This research will likely result in a greater understanding of the presence and distribution of pathogenic bacteria in drinking water in rural communities in Montana,” said Richards. “This research could lead to improved water quality in rural and underserved areas such as Indian reservations in Montana.”
 
“This fellowship will not only provide funding for my research until I graduate in 2010 but will allow me to travel to conferences that are important for networking and dissemination of our research.”

 

[This article will be featured in the December issue of Confluence, produced by the MSU College of Letters & Science.  Please contact Jody Sanford at 994.7791 for more information.]