Since arriving last summer, Stony Brook University President Maurie McInnis has demonstrated her commitment to supporting doctoral students through several critical investments. The latest are the Presidential Completion Awards, which have provided crucial financial assistance and research funds to 47 SBU doctoral students who have found their ability to complete their degrees hampered by circumstances beyond their control.
Over the past year, graduate students have experienced a myriad of delays in progressing their thesis due to the COVID-19 pandemic – such as the closure of laboratories and archives, the sudden transition to teaching online and travel restrictions – and have faced broader challenges, such as financial insecurity. and family or personal health problems. In some graduate programs, half of their doctoral students are past year six of their degree, and the pandemic has only made these problems worse, delaying around 40% of doctoral students at Stony Brook.
Following on from last year’s new PhD scholarships, President McInnis has released $ 1 million to help students in the late stages of their PhDs overcome delays and graduate.
“Our doctoral students have worked extremely hard to secure the highest level of scholarship, pursuing rigorous academic programs and conducting critical and creative research that will build a better future for us all,” said President McInnis. “Completion scholarships ensure that these academics complete their degrees and overcome the challenges that stand in their way, especially after this difficult academic year. I am happy to help facilitate the creation of a path for these students, and I could not be more proud. “
This student-centered approach to higher education aims to improve the lived experience and career prospects of these students. “Under President McInnis’ leadership, Stony Brook is rapidly establishing itself as a cutting edge and supportive graduate study destination,” said Eric Wertheimer, Dean of the Graduate School and Vice-President, Graduate and Professional Education .
The new Presidential Achievement Awards are of three types. The Presidential Thesis Completion Scholarships provide one to two semesters of stipends, tuition fees, and doctoral student support with no other source of funding for these costs. The Presidential Fund for Critical Research provides up to $ 5,000 in dissertation research expenses for students whose progress delays have created additional unfunded costs. The Presidential Postdoctoral Extension Awards, which have not yet opened for applications, will offer six-month postdoctoral fellowships to the best doctoral students who complete within the expected time frame to graduate in their discipline.
Unsurprisingly, these awards caught the attention of students and nearly 70 applications were submitted in the first competition in April 2021. A committee of 16 professors was recruited to review these applications. tell.
“It has been a privilege and a pleasure to serve on the selection committee for the Presidential Fellowships,” said August Sheehy, committee member, assistant professor in the music department. “Indeed, both the goal of the award and the process have been extremely rewarding. Not only did I learn a lot about the wide range of extraordinary research carried out by Stony Brook’s graduate students in the sciences and humanities, but I was also able to work with my wonderful colleagues to help these students complete this work and develop. move on to the next one. phase of their career.
Committee member Wei Yin, associate dean of the College of Engineering and Applied Sciences and associate professor of biomedical engineering, agreed. “I am very proud to be part of a university that cares and finds innovative ways to help and support our students in need,” she said.
The selection process ultimately awarded 37 students with Presidential Completion Scholarships and 10 students with Presidential Critical Research Funds (see full list below). The winners came mainly from the College of Arts and Sciences, but also from the College of Engineering and Applied Sciences, the School of Marine and Atmospheric Sciences, and the Renaissance School of Medicine.
With these awards, students should be able to focus on completing their thesis work without additional teaching or service or worrying about securing additional funding. Overall, the greatest outcome of these scholarships, however, can be a feeling of deep relief for our scholarship students.
“This is great news and a great relief for me,” said Luis Medina, a doctoral student in marine and atmospheric sciences and winner of a Presidential Thesis Completion Fellowship. “Now I can really focus one hundred percent on completing my thesis and getting my degree. ”
Alecia Nepaul, laureate of the Presidential Critical Research Funds in political science, was also encouraged. “It means a lot to me,” she said, “and will make a huge difference in my research.”
The presidential achievement award process was also an opportunity for Stony Brook to better understand the unique needs and concerns of our graduate students. This sentiment was well expressed by Eli Zadeh, a doctoral student in art history and winner of the Presidential Thesis Completion Fellowship, who said: “It is so reassuring to see my community at the university is acutely aware and responsive to the needs and priorities of the students. “
The next awards competition will take place this summer and will offer another round of end of thesis scholarships for spring and summer 2021, as well as postdoctoral extension scholarships. Watch for details to show on: grad.stonybrook.edu/cost-funding/Presidential-Dissertation
End of thesis scholarships:
Ahmad Al-Sholi, Sociology
Ernesto Blanes-Martinez, Philosophy
Sophia Boutilier, Sociology
Matt Brounley, Music
Sunghun Cho, Economics
Lori Clark, Technology, Policy and Innovation
Rachel Dushkewich, English
Andrew Eicher, Studies on Women, Gender and Sexuality
Firman Firmansyah, Technology, Policy and Innovation
Ford Fourqurean, Musical Performance
Bento Gonçalves, Ecology and evolution
Donald Hendrix, Geosciences
Ji Yea Kim, Linguistics
Corinna Kirsch, Art History and Criticism
Bernard Krumm, English
Evan Lammertse, Biomedical Engineering
Grégory Lella, History
Eric Lemmon, Music
Lei Liu, Linguistics
Luis Medina, Marine and Atmospheric Sciences
Anna Melnikova, Linguistics
Kristjan Mets, Ecology and Evolution
Vamiq Mustahsan, Mechanical Engineering
Alexandra Nicolaides, History of art and criticism
Alexandra Novitskaya, Studies on Women, Gender and Sexuality
Stephen Pallas, English
Emmanuel Pardo, History
Anna Reguero, History and Theory of Music
Anay Rodriguez, Hispanic Languages and Literatures
Alberto Sánchez Medina, Hispanic Languages and Literatures
Anthony Stapon, Molecular and Cellular Pharmacology
Mihir Umarani, Ecology and Evolution
Melis Umut, Studies on Women, Gender and Sexuality
Carolina Vittor Medina, Hispanic Languages and Literature
Alex Yeung, Linguistics
Eli Zadeh, History of art and criticism
Luca Zanchi, Cultural Analysis and Theory
Critical research funds:
Jenna Anderson, IDPAS
Emilie Bouda, Molecular and Cellular Pharmacology
Caitlyn Cardetti, Molecular and Cellular Pharmacology
Aishani Gupta, History
Erin Kimmel, Art History and Criticism
Taylor Medwig-Kinney, Genetics
Valerie Moyer, Studies on Women, Gender and Sexuality
Alecia Nepaul, Political Science
Nicholas Pepe, Psychology
Nicolás Wiggenhauser, IDPAS