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.

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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 provides funding for 5 consecutive semesters (Fall of the first year through Spring of the second year) at 50% time. 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.

Butler Fellows: Rachel Katz (2007-2009), Danyel Addes (2010-2012), Kelly Robinson (2011-2013), Catherine Bartenstein (2012-2014), Laura Keys (2013-2015), Laura Early (2014-2016), Philipp Nussbaum (2015-2017), Rick Bauer (2016-2018), Carol Yang (2017-2019), Laura Rack (2018-2020), Will White (2019-2021), Anna Baynes (2020-2022), Shelby Bauer (2021-2023).


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.”

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The assistantship provides funding for 5 consecutive semesters (Fall of the first year through Spring of the second year) at 4/9 time 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.

John Spencer Fellows: Emily Johnson (2016–2018), Zach Butler (2017-2019), Talia Levine (2019-2020), Kyle Connelly (2019-2021), Andrew Nagy (2020-2022), Fabiola Lopez-Avila (2021-2023).


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.

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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.

The Odum School of Ecology’s Graduate Program Committee will select the winner(s) from the nominations. There will be one award of $400.

Each application should be submitted as a single PDF, with the naming convention: StudentLastName-Paper.pdf. Submit entries by 11:59 p.m. on April 1 to the graduate program advisor AND graduate coordinator.

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), Ania Majewska (2020), Annakate Schatz (2021).


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 a student.  The award is provided in recognition of teaching achievements during the prior calendar year (Spring, Summer, and Fall), because the current semester will be only partially completed at the time of the nomination.

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The nomination packet should include:

  1. A nomination letter from any faculty member that provides specific and detailed rationale for why the student should receive the award;
  2. The student’s brief (2-page) CV;
  3. A supporting letter(s) from instructor(s) in charge of course(s) taught during the prior calendar year (Spring, Summer, or Fall).

The Odum School of Ecology’s Graduate Program Committee will select the winner(s) from the nominations. There will be one award of $500. The recipient will also have their name engraved on a plaque in the lobby and receive a certificate.

The faculty nominator should submit the nomination packet as a single PDF, with the naming convention: StudentLastName-Teaching.pdf. Submit entries by 11:59 p.m. on April 1 to the graduate program advisor AND graduate coordinator.

Previous winners include: Kristy McDowell (2014), Jenna Malek (2015), Kaitlin Farrell (2016), Elise Krueger (2017), Ania Majewska (2018), Kelsey Solomon (2020), and Dessa Dunn, Nate Tomczyk, and Carol Yang (2021).


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.

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Each application should be submitted as a single PDF, with the naming convention: StudentLastName-Policy.pdf. Submit entries by 11:59 p.m. on April 1 to the graduate program advisor AND graduate coordinator.

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


Golley Memorial Scholarship

This award recognizing demonstrated leadership abilities is given in memory of the former Institute of Ecology director Frank Golley. Born in Chicago, 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.

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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 this information: Golley Memorial Scholarship

Each application should be submitted as a single PDF, with the naming convention: StudentLastName-Golley.pdf. Submit entries by 11:59 p.m. on April 1 to the graduate program advisor AND graduate coordinator.

Previous winners include: Kimmy Kellett (2014), Kaitlin Farrell (2015), Wes Flynn (2016), Cecilia Sánchez (2017), Kelsey Solomon (2018) and Dessa Dunn (2020), and Caitlin Conn (2021).


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 of $1,000 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.

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Applications should include:

  1. A 1-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.

Each application should be submitted as a single PDF, with the naming convention: StudentLastName-Diversity.pdf. Submit entries by 11:59 p.m. on April 1 to the graduate program advisor AND graduate coordinator.

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), Talia Levine (2020) and Laura Kojima and Akanksha Sharma (2021).


Horseshoe Bend Georgia Power Award

The purpose of the Horseshoe Bend Georgia Power Award is to support undergraduate and/or graduate research that is conducted at the Horseshoe Bend Experimental Site. Support shall include, but not be limited to research materials, travel expenses for research presentations, awards, conferences, supplies and any other expenses deemed appropriate.Any student can apply to receive this award, with a faculty mentor who will oversee the project.

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Projects will be evaluated by members of the Odum School Facilities Committee, who will make recommendations based on the merits of each proposal. Two awards of up to $500 each will be made each year, one in the spring and one in the fall. The deadline for the spring award is April 1, and for the fall award is October 1. Funds will be processed as a scholarship, and a half-page report detailing the research performed will be due within 6 months of the award date. To apply, students should draft a proposal with the following information: Name, major, year of study, faculty advisor’s name, a 300-word description of the research (including goals, predictions and methods), and a short budget to indicate how the funds will be spent. Applications should be sent to Andy Davis (akdavis@uga.edu), to the attention of the Odum School of Ecology Facilities Committee.

Previous winners include: Doreen Chaussadas (2021).


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.

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Submit entries by 11:59 p.m. on April 11 to the graduate program advisor AND graduate coordinator.

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 this information: Meyer-Helfman Graduate Travel Award

Each application should be submitted as a single PDF, with the naming convention: StudentLastName-Meyer-Helfman.pdf. Submit entries by 11:59 p.m. on April 1 to the graduate program advisor AND graduate coordinator.

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 the School of Ecology or Department of 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.

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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 longer than 2 pages) written by the student’s major professor (which should also confirm that the student has advanced to candidacy);
  2. A research statement written by the student (no longer than 2 pages; references are included in the 2-page limit);
  3. A current CV for the student (no longer than 2 pages).

A committee of faculty from the Odum School of Ecology and the Franklin College of Arts and Sciences will select the winner from the nominations. No committee member will have their own student under consideration. There will be one award of $5,000. The funds may be used to support education, living, and/or research expenses. The fellowship may be renewable.

Each application should be submitted as a single PDF, with the naming convention: StudentLastName-Sharitz-Hatfield.pdf. Submit entries by 11:59 p.m. on April 1 to the graduate program advisor AND graduate coordinator.

Previous winners include: Emily Bertucci (2020), Samantha Bock (2021).


Robert Archer Sheldon Memorial Fund

The Robert A. Sheldon Memorial Fund was established in (February) 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. Funds are to provide scholarship to one or more students annually attending the University of Georgia studying in the field of Zoology or other related field and used exclusively for educational purposes within the United States.

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This fund has traditionally supported field research for graduate students working away from campus. First priority will be given to a student who does not have alternative sources of funding.

Applications should include:

  1. A 1-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 at least $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.

Each application should be submitted as a single PDF, with the naming convention: StudentLastName-Sheldon.pdf. Submit entries by 11:59 p.m. on April 1 to the graduate program advisor AND graduate coordinator.

Previous winners include: Sara Heisel (2014), Cara Love (2015), Molly Fisher (2016), Lexi Kenna (2020) and Andrew Nagy (2021).


Odum School of Ecology Graduate Student Research Grants

The Odum School of Ecology funds two types of research grants to support graduate student research: large grants (up to $5,000) and small grants (up to $1,000).  The goal of this program is to assist graduate students in their research programs while encouraging and maintaining excellence in graduate student research.  Funds may be used for supplies and expenses, equipment, chemical analyses, lab fees, and research-related travel, but cannot be used for salaries.  Funds are intended to supplement but not replace funds provided by major professors.  The Odum School of Ecology should be acknowledged in abstracts, publications, and posters, and the Odum School of Ecology must be listed as the recipient’s address.

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The OSE Graduate Program Committee evaluates proposals with decisions issued no later than April 15th.  We expect proposals to be of the highest quality and encourage (and expect) proposals to be well developed and to have been extensively reviewed and revised prior to submission based upon feedback from peers and advisors – this is particularly true for the large grants.

Format and requirements

Proposals should be single-spaced, using at least an 11-point font and 1-inch page margins and submitted as a single PDF.  The only difference between “large” and “small” grants is the page length for the main proposal (3 pages for large grants; 1 page for the small grants). 

Proposals should include:

  1. Title page (< 1 page): Title of proposal, name of applicant, name of advisor(s), total budget, small or large grant submission.
  2. Main Proposal (< 3 pages for large grants; < 1 page for small grants): Please include the following sections:
    1. Introduction: Provide background information needed to understand and motivate problem and proposed research. Proposals should communicate the significance of the proposed work in language that is clear to scholars in other specialties besides your own, but still provide enough detail to permit technical evaluation by those more familiar with the subject.
    2. Statement of the problem: What questions and/or hypotheses will you address in your research?  What is the significance of this work (if not already articulated in the Introduction).
    3. Research plan/methodology: What is the study design?  What data do you plan to collect and how? How will the data be used to address the problem?  Justify why you have chosen your particular study site / organisms if applicable.
    4. Relationship to your thesis/dissertation: How does this research fit into your overall thesis/dissertation project?  Provide a timetable for this project and the completion of your thesis/dissertation.
  3. References (no limit).
  4. Budget (< 1 page): Provide a detailed budget that is broken out by fiscal year (fiscal years end on June 30th). Clearly indicate which funds are requested for the current fiscal year; and which are requested for the upcoming fiscal year. If your grant is approved, funds will be allocated by fiscal year, and must be spent in the designated fiscal year. Other funding. What other funds are available to defray these costs? If your advisor has funds for research in this area, explain what they are contributing and why additional funds are needed. If you advisor has no funds, state this. Do you have other proposals pending or planned (what other attempts at funding have you made)? Budget justification: Provide justification for the requested funds.
  5. Other information (< 1 page).
    1. Previous support: What other research funds have you received from OSE? Describe how those funds were used and what you accomplished (including publications and talks).
    2. Certification: Include the following statement at the end of your document: “I certify that the above information is accurate and that my advisor has seen and approved the submission of this proposal”.
  6. CV (< 2 pages).

Evaluation: The Graduate Program Committee will consider the following aspects in evaluating proposals (although evaluations are not limited to these criteria):

  1. General: Have the guidelines above been followed? Has the student made good use of prior funds, if applicable? Has the student made good progress in their program, as evidenced by the CV?
  2. Significance: Is the importance of the project made clear? Has the proposal developed a compelling motivation for the proposed work and is the project appropriate to the student’s thesis/dissertation? Will completion of the proposed work facilitate the thesis/dissertation?
  3. Design: Are the objectives clearly defined and the central question(s) clearly identified? Does the student have the necessary background or expertise, and is this demonstrated in the proposal? Is the suggested timetable realistic?
  4. Budget: Are all requested items necessary? Has the possibility of using equipment elsewhere on campus been explored?

Allocation of funds: Funds are limited and we may not be able to make awards to all deserving proposals.  In some years, all available funds may not be allocated, depending on the quality and number of meritorious submissions.  Partial funding may be provided.  All funds that are awarded must be spent by the end of the next fiscal year, and as laid out in the submitted budget.  The OSE Business Office can assist with questions about allowable expenses, and how to make purchases and obtain reimbursements.

Notification: All applicants (and their advisor(s)) will be notified of the funding decision via email no later than April 15th.

Appeals: All decisions of the GPC are final and may not be appealed.  Unsuccessful proposals may be revised and resubmitted the following year.

Download this information: Odum Graduate Student Research Grants

Each application should be submitted as a single PDF, with the naming convention: StudentLastName-SmallGrant.pdf (for small grants) and StudentLastName-LargeGrant.pdf (for large grants). Submit entries by 11:59 p.m. on April 1 to the graduate program advisor AND graduate coordinator.


Odum School of Ecology and UGA Graduate School Travel Grants

The Odum School of Ecology and the Graduate School have funds to support travel of graduate students to present their research at scientific conferences within the continental U.S. and “internationally” (including Hawaii and Alaska).  Funds may be used for travel, registration, conference workshops, and per diem. 

Please refer to this pdf for detailed instructions and the application.