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Rawlins Student Receives NSF Graduate Research Fellowship

April 20, 2016
woman crouching by snow bank
Jazlynn Hall

University of Wyoming student Jazlynn Hall, of Rawlins, is among 2,000 individuals nationwide to receive the highly competitive National Science Foundation (NSF) fellowship.

There were more than 17,000 applications for the award that includes an annual $34,000 stipend for a period of up to five years.

Hall, who will graduate this spring with a B.S. in geography and a B.A. in anthropology, plans to use the fellowship to study the relationships between land use change involving forest degradation, reforestation and deforestation; and ecosystem health in the tropics. She has been accepted into the graduate program at Columbia University. She hopes for a career as a professor or researcher, and wants to be “at the forefront of discovering solutions for the seemingly endless list of environmental issues that will define our generation and those to come.”

Majoring in both disciplines has prepared her for this type of work, she says.

“Anthropology has helped me to understand the social drivers behind environmental degradation and to identify solutions within cultural frameworks,” says Hall, who recently was named one of the top graduating seniors in the UW College of Arts and Sciences. “Geography has been incredibly useful as everything that I intend to research, and certainly most research topics, in general, have a spatial component. Identifying spatial relationships between phenomena is crucial for creating solutions and management strategies.”

Hall attributes part of her success to the experiences she acquired at UW. She studied abroad five times; pursued her own research through EPSCoR (Experimental Program to Stimulate Competitive Research) and the Wyoming Research Scholars Program; and did field and laboratory work for the Wyoming Center for Environmental Hydrology and Geophysics.

Additionally, Hall says the McNair Scholars Program offered valuable assistance and experience to prepare her for graduate school and beyond.

“My education has truly been fantastic here, and I would not have gone anywhere else,” Hall says. “The size of the classes makes it easy to connect with professors and provides pathways for opportunities if you are interested. The professors are engaged with their students and will go out of their way to ensure a student’s success.”

She says faculty members Tom Minckley and Jacqueline Shinker from the Department of Geography; Melissa Murphy from the Department of Anthropology; and Brent Ewers, from the Department of Botany, have been particularly supportive.

“Jazlynn is engaging, professional and diligent in completing tasks and assignments in a timely manner,” Minckley says. “She practices the professionalism and citizenship that differentiate good colleagues from great colleagues, and I recognize that she will transition rapidly from a student to a colleague in a short number of years.”

About the NSF Fellowship

The Graduate Research Fellowship Program is a vital part of NSF efforts to foster and promote excellence in U.S. science, technology, engineering and mathematics by recognizing talent broadly from across the nation. The awards are provided to individuals who have demonstrated their potential for significant research achievements. The group is diverse, including 1,077 women, 424 individuals from underrepresented minority groups, 62 persons with disabilities, 35 veterans and 627 senior undergraduates. The new fellows come from 488 baccalaureate institutions.

Former NSF fellows include numerous individuals who have made transformative breakthroughs in science and engineering; have become leaders in their chosen careers; and been honored as Nobel Laureates.

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