Four Occidental College alumni have received the prestigious National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship--Erin Brinton '09 and Case Prager '08 in biology, and Ian Breckenridge-Jackson '07 and Laura Frankel '10 in social sciences.
The award provides three years of support for graduate study leading to research-based master's or doctoral degrees and is intended for students in the early stages of their graduate study in the sciences or social sciences. The award includes a $30,000-per-year living stipend and $10,500 per year for tuition.
"I was ecstatic when I found out I won and I haven't stopped smiling since," Brinton said. "I emailed Dr. [Gretchen] North right away, I was so excited. After all the mentorship and support I have received from her and the entire biology department at Oxy, I wanted them to be the first to know and share in the good news because I would not be where I am today, nor would I have won this award if it weren't for them, and really for the wonderful education and experience I had as a student at Occidental."
Brinton, a biology major from Durango, Colo., is studying the biology of certain food crops at UC Riverside. Breckenridge-Jackson, a math major who hails from Pinole, Calif., is doing sociological research on post-Katrina New Orleans. He is also at UC Riverside. Frankel, a politics major from Santa Monica, is studying political science at Duke University. Prager, a Los Angeles native who completed an independent pattern of study at Occidental, is undertaking ecological studies at Columbia University.
"To receive such an award at this early stage of graduate school is an incredible privilege and a challenge. I look forward to making the most of these incredible opportunities," Breckenridge-Jackson said.
Since 1990, 26 Occidental alumni have been awarded NSF Graduate Research Fellowships.