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05-24-2005

Clarkson Student Receives EPA Greater Research Opportunities Undergraduate Fellowship

[A photograph for newspaper use is available at http://www.clarkson.edu/news/photos/williams-epa.jpg]

Clarkson student Matthew R. Williams of Plymouth, Massachusetts, has been awarded a U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Greater Research Opportunities Undergraduate Fellowship, one of only 15 conferred annually to bachelor-level students in environmentally related fields of study. This prestigious award will provide Williams with up to $34,000 in support for his junior and senior years, as well as a paid internship at an EPA facility next summer.williams-epa

“I am very honored to have been selected to receive this EPA fellowship as it affords me the opportunity to continue my academic and research pursuits at Clarkson,” says Williams. “At the same time, the affiliation with EPA offers valuable insight and experience regarding those emerging issues shaping national policy and environmental protection initiatives.”

An Honors student with a double major in biology and mathematics, Williams has demonstrated not only academic excellence but also a strong research interest in advanced mathematical and analytical modeling of human impacts on the natural environment. His early participation as a freshman in Clarkson’s Summer Research Program included a study on the “Effects of Road Salt on the Cascade Lakes,” under the direction of Clarkson professors Tom Langen and Michael Twiss through the University’s Center for the Environment. His collaborative research was featured along with projects from four other Summer Research and Honors Program students as part of a poster presentation welcoming Senator Hillary Clinton during her September 2004 visit to Clarkson. The presentation showcased the opportunities that pre- and post-freshman research offers its participants.

This summer Williams will continue to gain valuable research experience at Mississippi State University, where he will be part of a research team studying population models of bluefish in conjunction with a National Science Foundation – Research Experiences for Undergraduates (NSF-REU) award. He will return to Clarkson a junior this fall where he is expected to maintain the high level of academic achievement he has demonstrated in his first two years of undergraduate study and in keeping with the standards set forth in the EPA fellowship program.

“We are very proud of Matthew’s academic accomplishments including this prominent fellowship award,” says Dr. Twiss, Williams’ biology advisor. “Matthew’s EPA fellowship not only recognizes his academic achievements and skills, but it is also a tribute to the caliber of the University’s multidisciplinary program in environmental science and engineering as well as the Clarkson Honors Program. We need people like Matthew to help us solve complex environmental problems now and in the future,” he adds.

“If you look on paper there are many equivalent schools to Clarkson with similar programs and like opportunities,” says Williams of his decision to attend Clarkson. “The major difference I noted during my first visit, and have continued to experience while attending Clarkson, is the overwhelming feeling of support you receive. Faculty and advisors go out of their way to provide opportunities for students with a genuine desire to ensure that each student succeeds,” he adds. Williams says the EPA fellowship for which he was selected was, in fact, recommended to him by Twiss, and Dr. David Craig, director of the Honors Program, who spent many hours helping him refine his application. “Even the research I am undertaking this summer at Mississippi State is a result of the prevailing Clarkson attitude. I am encouraged to get involved and to learn as much as I can, particularly through research, so that I can be better prepared for what I do after Clarkson,” Williams says.

PHOTO CAPTION: Clarkson University Honors student Matthew R. Williams of Plymouth, Massachusetts, has been awarded a prestigious U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Greater Research Opportunities Undergraduate Fellowship. The award will include up to $34,000 in support for his junior and senior years of undergraduate study in an environmentally related field, as well as a paid internship at an EPA facility next summer.
[News directors and editors: For more information, contact Michael P. Griffin, director of News & Digital Content Services, at 315-268-6716 or mgriffin@clarkson.edu.]

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