graduate student

NSF Powerpoints from the Missouri Transect Annual Meeting

Friday, September 16, 2016



Missouri EPSCoR Track-1 Program, Missouri Transect, held its second Annual Meeting on the Missouri University of Science & Technology (MST) campus in Rolla on September 14-15, 2016.  Dr. Rebecca Kruse attended the proceedings on September 14 to give presentations on NSF funding opportunities for junior faculty, postdoctoral fellows, and graduate students.

Rebecca Kruse Bio

Dr. Rebecca Kruse is a Program Director for the Division of Research on Learning in Formal & Informal Settings (in Educational and Human Resources). Rebecca currently serves the Innovative Technology Experiences for Students and Teachers (ITEST), Discovery Research PreK-12 (DRK-12), STEM+Computing Partnerships (STEM+C), and Promoting Research & Innovation in Methodologies for Evaluation (PRIME) programs. Rebecca also manages NSF’s participation in the interagency Albert Einstein Distinguished Educator Fellowship Program and supports EHR’s program evaluation and monitoring activities. Rebecca’s prior work included development, research, and evaluation of projects and programs that support STEM education across age groups, learning settings, and community contexts. Rebecca has contributed to numerous projects funded by the Department of Defense, the National Science Foundation, the U.S. Department of Education, the National Institutes of Health, and the state of Louisiana. Rebecca holds a Ph.D. in Chemistry from University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign and conducted post-doctoral work in science education at San Diego State University’s Center for Research in Mathematics and Science Education. Recent positions include Evaluation Director for the Army Educational Outreach Program Cooperative Agreement (led by Virginia Tech) and Science Educator at Biological Sciences Curriculum Study.

NSF Presentations given on September 14, 2016 at the Missouri Transect Annual Meeting in Rolla, MO

National Science Foundation Funding Opportunities Presentation given on September 15, 2016 at the University of Missouri-Columbia


Blue Waters Graduate Fellowship

Event date(s): Tuesday, December 1, 2015 to Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Applications due Feb. 3 for Blue Waters Graduate Fellowships

Applications are due Feb. 3, 2016 for the Blue Waters Graduate Fellowship program, which provides graduate students from across the country the opportunity to immerse themselves in a year of focused high-performance computing (HPC) research. Fellows will receive a stipend of $38,000, up to a $12,000 tuition allowance, and up to 50,000 node-hours on the petascale Blue Waters supercomputer to support their research.

The fellowship is designed to support PhD students who are engaged in a program of study and research that is directly relevant to the use of Blue Waters. Preference will be given to candidates engaged in a multidisciplinary research project that combines disciplines such as computer science, applied mathematics and computational science applications.

Researchers across the country are using Blue Waters to gain new understanding of how viruses attack our bodies, the formation of galaxies and of severe storms, space weather, sub-atomic physics, and other challenging topics. Blue Waters is designed to handle the most compute-intensive, memory-intensive, and data-intensive challenges in computational science and engineering. Blue Waters features:

  • Nearly 27,000 very high-performance computational nodes including more than 4,000 GPUs
  • More than 1.66 petabytes of memory
  • More than 25 usable petabytes of online disk storage
  • Up to 500 petabytes of nearline tape storage

For complete details of the Blue Waters system, visit

Fellowship applicants must be a U.S. citizen or a permanent resident of the U.S. by the time of the application deadline. Applications will be evaluated based on:

  • Academic record from undergraduate and graduate work
  • Research plan and its relationship to use of the Blue Waters supercomputer
  • GRE scores
  • Related experience and service
  • Letters of reference

Applications, including all supporting materials except reference letters, must be submitted no later than midnight PST on Feb. 3. Reference letters are due by midnight PST on Feb. 10. Awards will be announced in spring 2016, with the tuition allowance applied to the 2016-2017 academic year.

For complete information on the fellowships, visit Questions? Contact bwgf [at] ncsa [dot] illinois [dot] edu.

Graduate Student Rachel Kerns Attends U.S. Borlaug Summer Institute on Global Food Security

Rachel Kerns presenting her research poster during the poster session of the US Borlaug Summer Institute to Patrick Slack, program analyst, Purdue Center for Global Food Security.(Photo credit: US Borlaug Fellowship Program, Purdue University)       Photo credit: Rachel Kerns, University of Missouri      L-R: Dr. Gebisa Ejeta, Director of the Purdue Center for Global Food Security, Distinguished Professor of Agronomy, 2009 World Food Prize Laureate, Gary Burniske, Managing Director, Purdue Center for Global Food Security, Rachel Kerns, participant in the 2015 US Borlaug Fellows Summer Institute in Global Food Security receiving her completion award from Ambassador Kenneth M. Quinn, President, The World Prize Foundation at the closing reception of the 2015 US Borlaug Fellows Summer Institute held at Purdue University on June 19, 2015.(photo credit: Charles Jischke, Purdue University)

This summer, I had the opportunity to attend the U.S. Borlaug Summer Institute on Global Food Security at Purdue University. The institute was a two-week long program for graduate students interested in developing a better understanding of international development and global food security issues. The participating students came from many different backgrounds, including food science, nutrition, agronomy, soil science, economics, policy studies, sociology, anthropology, plant breeding, and pathology. When I was at Iowa State University for my undergraduate degrees, I was able to travel to Africa, South America, and Eastern Europe, and I have always had a passion for travelling and working in developing countries, so I was thrilled to be selected for this program!

Our training mainly consisted of lectures and practicums by world-class experts on food security from a variety of academic backgrounds. Most were faculty members with international research work, but we also heard from leadership at the US Agency for International Development and research scientists from local and multi-national NGOs. Dr. Gebisa Ejeta (2009 World Food Prize Laureate) was the program director and spent time getting to know each of us and answering our questions on working in international development and food security. We also completed an intensive group project where we were asked to respond to an RFA from USAID’s Feed the Future grant program. I was a member of the Kenya country group, and my team proposed a program to introduce cowpeas into the supply chain in Western Kenya. I learned so much from my teammates and from researching existing programs and conditions in that area.

One of the major themes that arose from the speakers was the need for climate change adaptation research, which fits well with my EPSCoR research project. In the coming decades, it is going to be increasingly important to understand how various ecosystems respond to the impacts of climate change and to develop strategies to make those ecosystems more resilient. I am so excited to look at the effects of increasing temperature and changing hydroperiods on playa wetlands on the Great Plains, and to take a close look at how climate change is affecting soil.

After I graduate from Mizzou, I hope that I am able to work on research in international development and global food security, and this conference has opened my eyes to the many ways to do so. I am so thankful for the network of fellow “hunger fighters” that I’ve gained, and also for my advisors and colleagues at University of Missouri for their support for me to attend this institute. I would highly recommend the Borlaug Summer Institute and Fellowship program to graduate students interested in global food security. You can find more information at

Tags: climate team, food security, summer institute, borlaug, graduate student