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W&L Alumni and Student Awarded NSF Fellowships Emma Aldrich ’22, Tanajia Moye-Green ’23 and Jules Seay ’24 have received pre-doctoral graduate research fellowships from the National Science Foundation to support their research.

Two Washington and Lee University alumni and one graduating senior have received pre-doctoral graduate research fellowships from the National Science Foundation (NSF). The NSF’s graduate research fellowship recognizes and supports outstanding graduate students in NSF-supported science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) disciplines who are pursuing research-based master’s and doctoral degrees at accredited United States institutions. The five-year fellowship includes three years of financial support including an annual stipend of $37,000 and a cost of education allowance of $16,000 to the institution.

This year’s W&L recipients include:

  • Emma Aldrich ’22 to study biomedical engineering at the University of Colorado, Boulder.
  • Tanajia Moye-Green ’23 to study sociology at Stanford University.
  • Jules Seay ’24 to study ecology.

Emma Aldrich ’22

Emma-Aldrich-22-NSF-scaled-240x350 W&L Alumni and Student Awarded NSF FellowshipsAldrich is currently pursuing a doctorate in biomedical engineering at the University of Colorado, Boulder (CU), where she investigates novel therapeutics with overlap between Alzheimer’s disease and glioma, using physics-based simulations to identify and target mechanisms that disrupt the tumor immunoediting process. She is a part of the Interdisciplinary Quantitative Biology program at CU Boulder’s BioFrontiers Institute, which emphasizes integrated problem-solving, scientific communication and community outreach, and works in the Rationally Designed Immunotherapeutics and Interface’s lab under the direction of Kayla Sprenger, assistant professor of chemical and biological engineering at CU, where she leverages computational tools to address questions in immunology, inflammation and cancer.

“This fellowship is national recognition for my potential to contribute and an investment in my future success, which will drive my forward progress as I continue my graduate education and prepare to apply to post-doctorate — and, eventually, faculty — positions,” said the Ritzville, Washington, native.

Aldrich appreciates the support she has received over the years, and sees the fellowship as evidence that “it takes a village.” For her, every community that she has been a part of, especially W&L, has made her a more persistent researcher, a more diligent student and a stronger leader.

“Who I am today is a product of all the family, mentors and friends who have helped me along the way, and when great things like this happen, I feel so grateful to have so many people to thank,” Aldrich said. “I work every day to give back to the people who have helped me get better and to make sure that their investment in my success is worth their time and effort. I hope to pay it forward someday and help those who have helped me, whether it was through science, mentorship or friendship.”

At W&L, Aldrich participated in undergraduate research in the Department of Physics and Engineering with Irina Mazilu, the Parmly Professor of Physics, and the Department of Biology with Gregg Whitworth, associate professor of biology. She was a member of Sigma Pi Sigma, the physics honors society; Tri-Beta, the biology honor society; and Omicron Delta Kappa. She was also involved in the Outing Club, engineering community development, leadership education and development, and Alpha Delta Pi sorority.

Tanajia Moye-Green ’23

Tanajia-Moye-Green-350x234 W&L Alumni and Student Awarded NSF FellowshipsMoye-Green received a Fulbright Master of Sciences Degree Award to the United Kingdom in the spring of 2023. She is currently pursuing a master’s degree in criminal justice and penal change at the University of Strathclyde in Scotland and works as a policy analyst intern at the National Institute for Criminal Justice Reform.

Moye-Green’s research focuses on how women from socioeconomically disadvantaged households financially cope with partner incarceration, and specifically how paternal incarceration impacts Black families. While a lot of current research examines how incarceration affects the economic opportunities of Black men, Moye-Green argues that not nearly enough has been done to understand how incarceration financially affects the partners and children they leave behind, especially when considering the financial hardships imposed by their partner’s incarceration. Her passion and determination to conduct this research have been strengthened by her involvement in local organizations fighting racism, including serving on the board of the Community Anti-Racism Effort (CARE) of Rockbridge County.

“Prioritizing community engagement and volunteer opportunities with the communities that I wish to serve through my future research has strengthened my understanding of the issues these communities face and my determination to do research that will draw more awareness to their needs and experiences,” said the Bartow, Florida native.

At W&L, Moye-Green was involved in the Shepherd Program and the Office of Community-Based Learning and partnered with W&L’s institutional history initiatives to research the role of past W&L administrators, faculty and students in criminal acts over the past two centuries. She attended the Public Policy and International Affairs (PPIA) Junior Summer Institute Fellowship at Princeton University’s Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs in summer 2022, where she strengthened her quantitative, analytic and communication skills, as well as learned more about policy analysis, statistics and economics. Moye-Green also received a Beinecke Scholarship in 2022, which provides funds for post-graduate study to students of unusual promise.

Jules Seay ’24

Jules-Seay-scaled-350x233 W&L Alumni and Student Awarded NSF FellowshipsSeay’s research focuses on ecological, geological and chemical carbon cycling. She is particularly interested in understanding anthropogenic and biological carbon cycles to inform the creation of carbon capture solutions and studying how humans might be able to alter the environment and carbon cycle for the better.

Seay is honored to have received the fellowship before she begins her doctoral program, and if you were in W&L’s Department of Geology when she received the news, you likely heard her shouting through the halls with excitement.

“Words can’t even describe what this award means to me,” said the Atlanta, Georgia native. “Receiving the fellowship reaffirmed my passion for research and making change, and it is truly an accumulation of all my work in research, my community and my extracurriculars. It also means that I’ll get to have a lot of freedom with the kind of research I want to do, and I am so excited to get to graduate school and design a thesis that’s personal to me and my goals.”

Seay previously received a Goldwater Scholarship and Udall Scholarship to support a research career in science, mathematics and engineering, and is looking forward to continuing to advance her studies with the NSF grant.

At W&L, Seay is a head career fellow for the Office of Career and Professional Development, the sustainability chairman for Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc., and has previously held leadership roles in the Connolly Entrepreneurship Society and the Executive Community. She volunteers for the Boxerwood Conservation Center and previously interned with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

If you know a W&L member who has done great, accolade-worthy things, tell us about them! Nominate them for an accolade.