Join us in congratulating Caroline Donaghy (2020 Certified Chemist BS) for her award of an NSF Graduate Research Fellowship!
Established in 1951, the National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship Program (NSF GRFP) was the first congressionally funded NSF program. Since 1952, more than 500,000 students have applied with 60,000 Graduate Research Fellowships awarded – an acceptance rate of only 12%. According to the program website, 42 Fellows have gone on to become Nobel laureates, and more than 450 have become members of the National Academy of Sciences.1
Caroline’s undergraduate research at Appalachian was cross-disciplinary in chemistry and physics and her research activities were supported by an NIH grant obtained by Dr. Brooke Hester and Dr. Megen Culpepper for initial flavin transfer studies on the sulfur degrading enzyme Dimethyl Sulfide Monooxygenase. This work was published in 2020 with Caroline listed as a coauthor.2
Caroline was accepted into multiple graduate programs and chose the graduate program at the University of Connecticut where she joined Dr. Alfredo Angeles-Boza’s research group exploring the potential use of antimicrobial peptides (AMPs) as a safe, green pesticide in order to promote better agricultural practices, thereby protecting the environment, pollinators, and marginalized populations of migrant farmers. Caroline also joined the UConn Joint Safety Team – a student lead initiative that promotes chemical safety in academic research labs. When asked about the award, Caroline had this to say, “My application spoke on my experiences of conducting research, mentoring through tutoring or research, all that I learned while working in the stockroom, presenting at conferences, developing my demonstration-based outreach program, Science is Reaching All Demographics (RAD), but most importantly I wrote about my tenacity to overcome the many hurdles I faced while obtaining my Bachelor of Science. I clarified my capability to accomplish all that I did in my undergraduate career because of all the supportive mentors I was lucky enough to have during my time at Appalachian State University.”
Appalachian receives National recognition as Caroline’s undergraduate institution. The award is so prestigious, that the NSF even awards Honorable Mentions to applicants who do not receive an award offer.
1 NSF Graduate Research Fellowship Program (NSF GRFP). https://www.nsfgrfp.org/resources/about_grfp 2 Hammers, D. S.; Donaghy, C. M.; Heiss, S. L.; Gordon, J.M.; Stevens, J. W.; Murray, L.P.; Schwab, A. D.; Hester, B. C.; Culpepper, M. A. Identification and Characterization of a DmoB Flavin Oxidoreductase from a Putative Two-Component DMS C-Monooxygenase. ACS Omega 2020 5 (17), 9830-9838. DOI: 10.1021/acsomega.9b04489