W&L’s Janey Fugate ’15 Awarded National Science Foundation Fellowship Fugate will use her graduate research fellowship from the National Science Foundation to study the migration patterns of bison in Yellowstone National Park.
Washington and Lee alumna Janey Fugate ’15 has been awarded a graduate research fellowship from the National Science Foundation (NSF). Fugate is pursuing her master’s in zoology at the University of Wyoming and studying the migration of hooved mammals through a case study of bison migration in Yellowstone National Park. She is part of a team of researchers contributing data to the Wyoming Migration Initiative, a lab at the University of Wyoming that researches and conserves migratory ungulates (hooved mammals) in Wyoming and the Mountain West.
The NSF’s graduate research fellowship is a competitive award that funds masters or doctoral students’ development of research-based thesis projects in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) disciplines at accredited U.S. institutions. The five-year fellowship includes three years of financial support including an annual stipend of $34,000 and a cost-of-education allowance of $12,000 to the institution.
“I’m incredibly humbled and gratified to receive this distinction,” said Fugate, who majored in journalism and Romance languages at W&L. “Coming from a communications and storytelling background, this award is a big boost for me as an aspiring scientist and wildlife researcher.”
Following her graduation from W&L, Fugate’s career as a communications specialist and filmmaker allowed her to use her Spanish language skills in a variety of settings, and she said that her transition into her current field of study felt like an expansion rather than a new direction.
“Working with wildlife more closely has been an aspiration of mine for a long time,” Fugate said, “and Wyoming’s program has been a great fit in that respect. My goal is to integrate storytelling with conservation and research science.”
Brian Richardson, emeritus professor of journalism at W&L, worked closely with Fugate during her undergraduate career. “Janey has always manifested a keen interest in the environment,” Richardson said, “and since graduation she’s been all over the world to learn about threatened ecosystems and indigenous populations.”
Fugate said she has found the continued support from her undergraduate professors invaluable as she applied to graduate school in a different field. “I’m really grateful for the community that W&L gave me, both professors and students,” Fugate said. “W&L’s liberal arts education taught me the value of multidisciplinary, rigorous research and gave me a belief in my ability to grow in areas outside my natural skillset.”
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