Linguist Margit Bowler ’11 interviews Warlpiri elder
Quinn Langdon ’11 hunts wild yeasts
Chrissy Porter ’13 makes optical allusions
Three recent grads all won fellowships from the National Science Foundation this year as part of the NSF’s prestigious Graduate Research Fellowships Program.
The program grants each fellow $32,000 a year for three years to pursue a specific research proposal, plus $12,000 a year to the fellow’s institution. Students may apply in their senior year or during their first two years of graduate school.
Margit Bowler ’11 will do fieldwork in the language of Warlpiri, spoken by approximately 3,000 indigenous people in central Australia. Her project represents a continuation of the research she began thanks to a Fulbright Scholarship she won in 2011; she is thankful to NSF for the opportunity to continue her research, as she believes Warlpiri should not be studied without a long-term commitment to its speakers and their communities. She is currently at UCLA researching Warlpiri semantics and syntax, although she occasionally delves into Warlpiri phonology.
Quinn Langdon ’11 will investigate the genomics of temperature preference in a wild yeast known as Saccharomyces eubayanus, which was recently discovered inhabiting the beech trees of Patagonia and which is closely linked, genetically speaking, to the yeast used for brewing lager. Quinn suspects that studying S. eubayanus will yield important clues to understanding evolution in wild and agricultural settings and lead—with any luck—to some great-tasting beer. She is headed to the University of Wisconsin, Madison, and says her interest in studying “nonmodel” species was first piqued under the guidance of Prof. Suzy Renn [biology 2006–].
Christina Porter ’13 will be using her grant to investigate novel imaging systems at Princeton this fall as she begins her PhD in electrical engineering. Chrissy wrote her thesis on lightning with Prof. David Griffiths [physics 1978–2009] and graduated with a 4.0 GPA—an outstanding achievement considering the college’s notoriously rigorous academic program. In the last 29 years, only 11 students have graduated with a 4.0 GPA; Chrissy is one of only two physics majors (that we know of) to have achieved this milestone.