Grayson Tung and Zoe Narvaez, doctoral students in the Graduate Program in Entomology, were named fellows of the prestigious National Science Foundation (NSF) Graduate Research Fellowship Program (GRFP). The program recognizes and supports outstanding graduate students in NSF-supported science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) disciplines who are pursuing research-based master’s and doctoral degrees at accredited U.S. institutions.
From the 2,000 NSF graduate fellows for 2022, Tung and Narvaez are two of a dozen students at Rutgers School of Graduate Studies to receive the highly competitive award, and two of three to be awarded from the life sciences field of study. The oldest graduate fellowship of its kind, GRFP recipients have a high rate of doctoral degree completion – more than 70 percent completion within 11 years – and go on to achieve high levels of success in their future academic and professional careers.
Tung, who is originally from Amarillo, TX, received a bachelor’s degree in entomology from Texas A&M University before joining the graduate program at Rutgers. Tung’s doctoral advisor is Dina Fonseca, professor in the Department of Entomology and director of Rutgers Center for Vector Biology (CVB). His research focuses on determining ecological and physiological factors that influence host choice and utilization in Culex and Aedes mosquitoes.
Narvaez, a native of Hunterdon County, NJ, received a bachelor’s degree in Public Health from Oklahoma University before returning to New Jersey to begin graduate school at Rutgers. Her doctoral advisor is Dana Price, associate research professor in the Department of Entomology. Narvaez’s research at the CVB focuses on distribution and dynamics of emerging tick-borne diseases in New Jersey.The fellowship provides graduates with a three-year annual stipend of $34,000 plus additional support for tuition and fees, as well as access to opportunities for professional development available to NSF-supported graduate students.
NSF has funded more than 60,000 Graduate Research Fellowships out of more than 500,000 applicants since 1952. To date, 42 graduate fellows have become Nobel laureates and more than 450 have become members of the National Academy of Sciences.