Fellowships

The James E. Butler, Jr. Fellowships in Ecology

Columbus attorney James E. Butler, Jr. established the Butler Fellowships with a $1 million gift to the Institute of Ecology in 2006. A lifetime of experiences beginning with a love of fishing in Georgia’s rivers instilled in James Butler a deep regard for the environment. The fellowships that bear his name are for graduate students studying aquatic ecology, water quality and land use in Georgia and surrounding states. Each year the Odum School of Ecology in cooperation with the UGA River Basin Center awards a research assistantship to one incoming Masters student in Conservation Ecology and Sustainable Development, who is designated a “Butler Fellow.” The assistantship constitutes fall-spring funding (at 4/9 time) for two consecutive years. Nominations are sought from members of the graduate program faculty of the Odum School of Ecology, based upon the pool of candidates offered admission to the MS CESD degree program.  Students applying for admission do not have to provide any additional application materials to be considered for the fellowship. Applicants should be interested in conducting applied research or policy analysis in the Southeastern U.S.


John Spencer Fellowship

This fellowship honors John Kyle Spencer, a graduate student in the Odum School of Ecology, who was an extraordinary individual loved for his humor, generosity, energy, enthusiasm, and kindness. John studied urban streams and was passionate about freshwater ecology, conservation and ecological restoration. The fellowship was created by his family and friends to honor John’s legacy by giving future students the opportunity to pursue a career in freshwater ecology conservation and management. Each year the Odum School of Ecology in cooperation with the UGA River Basin Center awards a research assistantship to one incoming Masters student designated a “John Spencer Fellow.” The assistantship constitutes fall-spring funding (at 4/9 time) for two consecutive years for either the MS in Ecology or the MS in Conservation Ecology and Sustainable Development (the latter is preferred). Nominations are sought from members of the graduate program faculty of the Odum School of Ecology, based upon the pool of candidates offered admission to the MS degree programs (Ecology or CESD).  Students applying for admission do not have to provide any additional application materials to be considered for the fellowship. Applicants should be interested in pursuing a career in management and conservation of freshwater ecosystems (including rivers, streams, and wetlands). Candidates are judged partly on academic qualifications and partly on their enthusiasm, energy, and passion for freshwater conservation, as expressed in their application essay.


Awards and Scholarships

Best Student Paper Award

The Odum School of Ecology recognizes research conducted by our graduate students through the annual Best Student Paper competition. The award is given to a student who was the sole, or first, author of the peer-reviewed paper (article or book chapter) that was judged to be the best based upon its originality, experimental sophistication, application to ecological principles, level of effort, and potential impact. Verification of the applicant’s contribution may be asked of the co-authors. The paper must have been published during the current or proceeding calendar year (or be in press); If the paper is not yet published, documentation of manuscript acceptance is required. The paper must be based upon research conducted while the applicant was a graduate student in the Odum School of Ecology, and must show the Odum School of Ecology as the student’s institutional affiliation. Applicants must be currently enrolled in an Odum School graduate program or have graduated less than one year prior to the application deadline. Only one paper can be submitted per student.

The application packet should consist of single PDF that includes:

  1. A 1-page cover letter in which the student articulates the importance of the research and its impact on the discipline;
  2. The paper;
  3. Documentation of acceptance, if the paper is in press, and
  4. The student’s CV.

Submit entries by 11:59 p.m. on April 1 to Julie Gunby (gunby@uga.edu).

Previous winners include: Tad Dallas (2014), Dara Satterfield (2015), Daniel Becker (2015 and 2016), Jeffrey Minucci (2017), John Vinson (2017), Chao Song (2018), Claire Teitelbaum (2019), and Ania Majewska (2020).


Distinguished Graduate Student Teaching Award

The Odum School of Ecology Distinguished Graduate Student Teaching Award was established in 1998 to recognize outstanding ecology student teaching assistants and is given each spring to students enrolled in the ecology graduate program. Any Odum School Faculty member (regular, adjunct, research) may nominate one person per year.

The nomination packet should include:

  1. A letter specific and detailed stating why student should receive award;
  2. A brief (2-page) CV, and;
  3. Letter(s) from instructor(s) in charge of course(s) taught during award academic year.

The Odum School of Ecology’s Graduate Program Committee will select the winner(s) from the nominations. There will be one award of $200. The recipient will also have their name engraved on a plaque in the lobby and receive a certificate. The funds are not available until August and the recipient must be enrolled during that time.

Submit entries by 11:59 p.m. on April 1 to Julie Gunby (gunby@uga.edu).

Previous winners include: Kristy McDowell (2014), Jenna Malek (2015), Kaitlin Farrell (2016), Elise Krueger (2017), Ania Majewska (2018), and Kelsey Solomon (2020).


Environmental Policy Award

The Odum School of Ecology Environmental Policy Award was established in 2000 to recognize outstanding contributions to environmental policy research and development by students and staff. Any Odum School of Ecology faculty member (regular, adjunct, research) may nominate one person per year. Because the award recognizes truly extraordinary work, the award will not necessarily be given each year. The nomination packet should include: a letter specific and detailed stating why student or staff member should receive award. a copy of the work product (thesis, publication, slide show, etc.) that is proposed to be recognized. The award will be judged on the basis of application of ecological principles, excellence of work product, professionalism, actual and potential impact, and level of effort. The faculty of the Odum School of Ecology who teach classes in environmental policy will select the winner(s) from the nominations. The award will consist of an engraved plaque to hang in the foyer of the ecology building and a framed certificate.

Submit entries by 11:59 p.m. on April 1 to Julie Gunby (gunby@uga.edu).

Previous winners include: Katherine Edmonds (2011), Shannon Bonney (2013), Zachary Butler (2018), and Megan Hopson (2019).


Golley Memorial Scholarship

Born in Chicago, Frank Golley earned a bachelor’s degree in agriculture from Purdue University, a master’s degree in wildlife management from Washington State University, and a doctorate in zoology from Michigan State University. Dr. Golley was the director of the Savannah River Ecology Laboratory from 1962-1967, and director of the Institute of Ecology from 1968-1979. He was an internationally acclaimed leader in the field of landscape ecology. He also wrote over 40 books and chapters, and more than 150 papers on the fields of ecology, biology, social sciences and history. After over four decades at The University of Georgia, Dr. Golley retired in 2000. This award can be used in its full amount on research and travel if applied through the Odum School of Ecology, or can be distributed through your payroll (and taxed) if directly received. This money is not available until August in the year in which it is awarded, and the recipient must be enrolled during that time. The award amount is: $750. The Graduate Program committee will review all applications and make the final decision.

Submit nomination materials by 11:59 p.m. on April 1 to Julie Gunby (gunby@uga.edu).

Materials should be compacted into one pdf document. Only one entry per person. Applicants for this one-time monetary scholarship must meet the following criteria:

  1. Graduate student in  an Odum School of Ecology graduate program (master’s or doctorate);
  2. Good academic standing (3.0 Grade point average)
  3. Applicants should preferably have demonstrated leadership qualities

The nomination packet should include:

  1. Application;
  2. Applicant essay;
  3. A brief (2-page) CV;
  4. Faculty recommendation

Download application: Golley Memorial Scholarship

Previous winners include: Kimmy Kellett (2014), Kaitlin Farrell (2015), Wes Flynn (2016), Cecilia Sánchez (2017), Kelsey Solomon (2018) and Dessa Dunn (2020).


The Graduate Diversity Award in Ecology

The Graduate Diversity Award was created by now emeritus faculty member Dr. David Coleman to support diversity in the Odum School graduate program. This award has a significant monetary allotment and will be made available to the recipient at the beginning of the academic year for use toward research in the Eugene P. Odum School of Ecology.

Applications should include:

  1. A one page (single-spaced) description of the proposed research;
  2. A brief (2-page) CV;
  3. A statement of your representation of diversity within the Odum School of Ecology

Upon accepting this scholarship the recipient will be expected to send a thank you letter to Dr. Coleman acknowledging their acceptance and appreciation of this award. You will need to be in attendance for Spring Fling to meet Dr. Coleman. This money is not available until August and the recipient must be enrolled during that time. The Graduate Program Committee will review all applications and make the final decision.

Submit entries by 11:59 p.m. on April 1 to Julie Gunby (gunby@uga.edu).

Materials should be compacted into one PDF document.

Previous winners include: Dexter Strother (2013), Joseph Colbert (2014), Cecilia Sánchez (2015), Anya Brown (2016), Keysa Rosas-Rodriguez (2017), Kaylee Arnold (2018), David Vasquez Jr. (2019), and Talia Levine (2020).


Meyer-Helfman Graduate Travel Award

 The purpose of the Meyer-Helfman Graduate Travel Award is to support graduate student travel to meetings, conferences, or other activities (e.g., meeting with legislators or decision-makers) related to the intersection of science, public policy, and conservation, with preference given to students whose research focuses on aquatic ecosystems. Dr. Judy Meyer is Professor Emerita in the Odum School. Meyer’s research has focused on ecological processes that maintain water quality, on river and stream food webs, and on the impact of watershed disturbance and riparian zone management on river and stream ecosystems. Dr. Gene Helfman is Professor Emeritus in the Odum School. Helfman’s distinguished teaching and research career have focused on conservation of fishes, effects of land use on fishes, invasive species, and behavioral and ecological interactions and their impact on fish conservation. There will be up to two awards of $400 each.

Submit entries by 11:59 p.m. on April 1 to Julie Gunby (gunby@uga.edu).

The Graduate Program Committee will review all applications and make the final decision. , and materials should be compacted into one pdf document. Applicants for this award must meet the following criteria:

  1. Graduate student in an Odum School of Ecology graduate program (master’s or doctorate);
  2. Good academic standing (3.0 grade point average).

The nomination materials should include:

  1. Application;
  2. Applicant essay;
  3. A brief (2-page) CV.

Download application: Meyer-Helfman Graduate Travel Award

Previous winners include: David Manning and Kaitlin Farrell (2014), David Manning (2015), Katie Brownson (2016), Kaitlin Farrell and Chao Song (2017), and Edward Stowe (2019).


Dr. Rebecca Reyburn Sharitz and Carl Byrne Hatfield Fellowship

The Dr. Rebecca Reyburn Sharitz and Carl Byrne Hatfield Fellowship supports doctoral candidates in ecology or plant biology at the University of Georgia, with preference given to those affiliated with the Savannah River Ecology Laboratory. It was established in 2020 by their family in memory of the late Prof. Emerita Rebecca Sharitz, world-renowned wetlands ecologist at SREL, and her husband Carl Byrne Hatfield.

Any Odum School or Plant Biology faculty member (regular, adjunct, courtesy, research) may nominate one student per year.

The nomination packet should include:

  1. A nomination letter (no more than two pages) from the student’s faculty advisor;
  2. A one page summary of research interests written by the student;
  3. A brief (2 page) CV.

A committee consisting of the Odum School of Ecology Graduate Program Committee and a faculty member from SREL who does not have a student under consideration for the award will select the winner from the nominations. There will be one award of $5,000. The funds will be provided directly to the recipient and may be used to support education, living, and/or research expenses. The fellowship may be renewable.

Submit entries by 11:59 p.m. on April 1 to Julie Gunby (gunby@uga.edu).

Previous winners include: Emily Bertucci (2014).


Robert A. Sheldon Memorial Fund

The Robert A. Sheldon Memorial Fund was established in 1971 by a contribution from Dr. Joanne S. Sharpe in memory of her late husband, who was an outstanding graduate student in the Department of Zoology. This fund has traditionally supported field research for graduate students working away from campus. We will award a monetary award to one applicant that will be a reimbursement for travel or research supplies expenses. First priority will be given to a student who does not have alternative sources of funding.

Applications should include:

  1. A one page (single-spaced) description of the proposed research;
  2. A brief (2-page) CV;
  3. An overall budget, detailing intended use of the Sheldon funds, how they fit in with other, non-Sheldon expenses, and how other costs will be met;
  4. A statement from the student’s advisor confirming that other grant funds are unavailable to support the proposed work (this is not a letter of recommendation; Please emphasize this to your advisor). This letter should be included in the application and should not be sent separately.

There will be one award of $500. The funds are not available until August and the recipient must be enrolled during that time. The Graduate Program Committee will review all applications and make the final decision.

Submit entries by 11:59 p.m. on April 1 to Julie Gunby (gunby@uga.edu).

Previous winners include: Sara Heisel (2014), Cara Love (2015), Molly Fisher (2016), and Lexi Kenna (2020).