Linguist Margit Bowler ’11 doing fieldwork with Warlpiri elder in Australia.
Margit Bowler ’11, Quinn Langdon ’11, and Christina Porter ’13 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 individual's institution. Students may apply to the program their senior year or during their first two years of graduate school.
Margit Bowler ’11 will do fieldwork in the language of Warlpiri, spoken solely 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 longterm 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 won a grant for her research proposal, “Ecological Genomics of Temperature Preference in Wild Saccharomyces eubayanus Yeast.” S. eubayanus is a recently discovered species of wild yeast that inhabits the beech trees of Patagonia and is closely linked, genetically speaking, to the yeast most commonly used for brewing lager beer. 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 University of Wisconsin, Madison, and says her interest in studying non-model 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 to have achieved this milestone.
[Unlike many other colleges and universities, Reed has experienced remarkably little grade inflation over the past three decades, reflecting the rigor of the academic program and the high standards set by the faculty. The average GPA for the class of 2012 was 3.17, practically unchanged from the average for the class of 1992, which was 3.13. Students’ grades are filed with the registrar, but traditionally students are not informed of their grades and are encouraged to judge their progress and academic standing through the lengthy comments and evaluations their professors affix to their exams and papers. See more about Reed’s grading policy.]