ENVS Ph.D. Student Awarded NSF Fellowship

Grace Cagle, a Ph.D. student in environmental sciences, was recently awarded a National Science Foundation (NSF) fellowship through the East Asia & Pacific Summer Institutes (EAPSI) program for research in China. Cagle’s research is focused on microbial ecology. Professor Aixin Hou serves as her major professor.


Cagle will be spending most of the summer at Northeast Institute near Beijing, where she will be able to focus on one of her main research interests, global climate change. She will be working on a project in collaboration with students and resident scientists at Northeast Institute who have been doing research on global warming’s effects on wetlands for more than 10 years. Cagle’s project will utilize a network of open-top chambers the group maintains in the wetlands, which provide a realistic simulation of the effect of warmer temperatures.

A major goal of EAPSI is to initiate personal relationships that will better enable students to collaborate with foreign counterparts in the future. Cagle stated that she was grateful for the opportunity to learn about, and conduct research in, China. “As a young scientist, I see that China is really investing in science, including climate change, and I think we may be looking toward them more in the future,” said Cagle.

Hou said she was extremely excited about this opportunity for Grace. “This will be a great experience for her, not only allowing her to conduct research on climate change in an area where wetlands are very sensitive to warming, but to also allow her to learn about a new culture, meet new people and try new food!” she said.

The EAPSI award will cover Cagle’s round trip travel expenses, financial support needed for the eight-week program, including a stipend, and travel money while she is in Beijing. Food and living expenses will be supported by the Chinese Bureau of Science Technology.