BIOS students awarded NSF Graduate Research Fellowships
April 11, 2017
Elizabeth Chase and Taylor Lagler, students in the Department of Biostatistics at the UNC Gillings School of Global Public Health, have won prestigious National Science Foundation (NSF) Graduate Research Fellowships.
The purpose of the NSF Graduate Research Fellowship Program is to help ensure the vitality and diversity of the scientific and engineering workforce of the United States. The program recognizes and supports outstanding graduate students who are pursuing research-based master’s and doctoral degrees in science and engineering.
With this award, Chase, an undergraduate student double majoring in biostatistics and history, and Lagler, a biostatistics doctoral student, have earned three years of support for their graduate educations.
Chase — whose undergraduate education was funded by UNC’s Colonel Robinson Scholarship — plans to complete doctoral research in biostatistics that will extend methods for studying health disparities and broader inequities.
“The award means more freedom in my choice of graduate program and graduate research area,” Chase said. “Getting an NSF Fellowship also provides validation for the work I proposed. I’m glad they thought my idea had potential and merit.”
Lagler also is grateful for the flexibility that the NSF Fellowship provides in terms of exploring potential research pursuits. She currently is interested in gene expression profiles and single-nucleotide polymorphism associations, and hopes to increase understanding of genetic risk factors for complex diseases across various populations.
“Receiving this award is a wonderful acknowledgement of not only my efforts, but the efforts of my mentors as well,” Lagler said. “Becoming an NSF Fellow encourages me to be a role model and mentor for someone else in the future. In particular, I’m eager to urge other women and underrepresented groups to pursue research in the sciences.”
“We are incredibly proud of Elizabeth and Taylor for being two of only three biostatistics students nationwide selected for this fellowship,” said Jianwen Cai, PhD, Cary C. Boshamer Distinguished Professor and interim chair of biostatistics at the Gillings School. ”These are two outstanding young scholars, and we are very pleased to have them in our program.”
Chase and Lagler are the seventh and eighth biostatistics students from the Gillings School to receive NSF fellowships. They follow in the footsteps of alumni Naomi Brownstein, Emily Butler, Sheila Gaynor and Andrea Lane, as well as current biostatistics graduate students Erika Helgeson and Shaina Mitchell.