Aug. 29, 2018

National Academies' Gulf Research Program Announces 2018 Early-Career Research Fellowships

WASHINGTON – The Gulf Research Program of the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine today announced the recipients of its 2018 Early-Career Research Fellowships. These competitive awards are among a suite of program activities aimed at supporting the development of future generations of scientists, engineers, and health professionals who are prepared to work at the intersections of offshore energy system safety, human health and well-being, and environmental stewardship in the Gulf of Mexico and other U.S. coastal regions.

“In response to the growing popularity of this program, this year we doubled the number of Early-Career Research Fellowships being awarded from 10 to 20,” said Maggie Walser, director of education and capacity building. “With this fourth class of fellows, we’ve now built a network of nearly 50 scientists and researchers in the Gulf region and around the country focused on providing leadership and expertise in addressing the complex, interdisciplinary challenges facing coastal regions.”

The Early-Career Research Fellowship recognizes professionals at the critical pre-tenure phase of their careers who show exceptional leadership and performance, and potential for future contributions to improving offshore energy system safety, human health and well-being, or environmental stewardship. Each fellow receives an award of $76,000, paid to his or her institution in the form of a two-year grant, for research expenses and professional development. To foster their development as leaders, the fellows also receive professional guidance from a mentor who is a senior faculty member at their home institution.

In alphabetical order, the 20 recipients of the 2018 Early-Career Research Fellowships are:

Srijan Aggarwal
Assistant Professor, Civil and Environmental Engineering
University of Alaska, Fairbanks

Lauren Clay
Assistant Professor, Health Services Administration
D’Youville College

Adrienne Simoes Correa
Assistant Professor, Biosciences
Rice University

Sarah Davies
Assistant Professor, Biology
Boston University

Nicole Errett
Lecturer, Environmental and Occupational Health Sciences
University of Washington

Ipsita Gupta
Assistant Professor, Petroleum Engineering
Louisiana State University

Pedram Hassanzadeh
Assistant Professor, Mechanical Engineering | Earth, Environmental, and Planetary Sciences (Joint)
Rice University

Marccus Hendricks
Assistant Professor, Urban Studies and Planning
University of Maryland

Betty Sao-Hou Lai
Assistant Professor, Counseling, Developmental, and Educational Psychology
Boston College

Vincent Lecours
Assistant Professor, Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences
University of Florida

Mark Losego
Assistant Professor, Materials Science and Engineering
Georgia Tech

Talea Mayo
Assistant Professor, Civil, Environmental, and Construction Engineering
University of Central Florida

Jill McDermott
Assistant Professor, Earth and Environmental Sciences
Lehigh University

Alejandra Ortiz
Assistant Professor, Civil, Construction, and Environmental Engineering
North Carolina State University

Christopher Patrick
Assistant Professor, Life Sciences
Texas A&M University, Corpus Christi

Kevin Smiley
Assistant Professor, Sociology
University of Buffalo

Xingyong Song
Assistant Professor, Engineering Technology and Industrial Engineering | Mechanical Engineering (Joint)
Texas A&M University

Beth Stauffer
Assistant Professor, Biology
University of Louisiana, Lafayette

Courtney Thompson
Assistant Professor, Geography
Texas A&M University

Hannah Vander Zanden
Assistant Professor, Biology
University of Florida

To learn more about the Gulf Research Program’s Early-Career Research Fellowships, visit Applications for 2019 Early-Career Fellowships will open in early December.

The National Academies' Gulf Research Program is an independent, science-based program founded in 2013 as part of legal settlements with the companies involved in the 2010 Deepwater Horizon disaster. It seeks to enhance offshore energy system safety and protect human health and the environment by catalyzing advances in science, practice, and capacity to generate long-term benefits for the Gulf of Mexico region and the nation. The program has $500 million for use over 30 years to fund grants, fellowships, and other activities in the areas of research and development, education and training, and monitoring and synthesis. Visit to learn more.

The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine are private, nonprofit institutions that provide independent, objective analysis and advice to the nation to solve complex problems and inform public policy decisions related to science, technology, and medicine. The Academies operate under an 1863 congressional charter to the National Academy of Sciences, signed by President Lincoln. For more information, visit

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