Student Research Awards

Purpose of the award: The purpose of the award is to provide one or more graduate students studying within the geographical boundaries of the Pacific Division or otherwise associated with the Pacific Division with research funds of up to $750 to assist in funding a research project leading to their advanced degree(s).

Funding: On-going funding comes from earnings from an endowment held by the Pacific Division in the name of Alan E. Leviton, former Executive Director and President of the Pacific Division. Additional funds are sought to 1) increase the endowment in order to insure that the full amount is available annually to as many students as possible and 2) provide non-endowed funds to help fund the on-going award on an annual basis. Persons interested in contributing, either to the endowment or to the annual award, should contact Roger Christianson, Ph.D., Executive Director, AAAS Pacific Division (for contact information, click here).

Application Procedure: The student shall provide a written request by e-mail attachment (either as a word-processed document [Microsoft Word or saved as an rtf file] or as a pdf file) to the Executive Director of the Pacific Division (for contact information, click here), which includes:

  • full name
  • contact Information, including:
    • full mailing address
    • day telephone
    • evening telephone
    • e-mail address
  • institution and department (if not included above)
  • 150 word biosketch, including:
    • education
    • current research
    • publications
    • title of the research project for which funding is being sought
  • brief description of the research project (limit 750 words), which includes a background of the study, the research question for the study, methods to be used, and a clearly delineated budget for the study
  • monetary request, including a precise description of what the award will be used for, how it will impact the research project, and other sources of funding for the project. Please note that the award is to be used only for research directly related to the receipt of an advanced (graduate) degree by the recipient. It does not support travel to meetings, meeting registrations, training, or other such activities. Neither does it support the shared cost for the purchase of large pieces of equipment. Applications requesting money for such purposes will not be considered.
  • name, e-mail address, and telephone number of major professor/advisor
  • signed letter of recommendation from mentor who has the greatest impact on the research project. If the letter is not written by the major professor/advisor, the major professor/advisor must be in agreement with the contents of the letter and sign it along with the mentor. Please note that this is the only letter of recommendation that will be considered.

Application Deadline: 5:00 p.m. Pacific Time on 1 May
Applications received past the stated deadline or applications incomplete at the time of the deadline will not be considered.

Reporting: The awardee shall, within 180 days of funding of the award, make a brief report (limit 500 words) to the Executive Director of the results generated by the award monies and the impact of those results on the overall research project. The report will be forwarded to the Division's Executive Committee and Council for review. The report, or an abridged version thereof, should be suitable for publication on the Division's website and also in the Division's Newsletters.

The awardee is encouraged to present the results of the research supported by this award at the next Annual Meeting of the Division and will be granted a complimentary meeting registration should they choose to do so.

CONGRATULATIONS to the following winners of Leviton Student Research Awards:

Click on title link to read the summary report for each project.


Cyler Norman Conrad, Department of Anthropology, University of New Mexio. Advisor: Emily Lena Jones. Project: Long-term Stable Isotope Ecology of Galapagos Tortoises (Chelonoidis sp.). Award: $750.


Rachel Bhaskar, Biology Department, San Francisco State University. Advisor: Megumi Fuse. Project: Role of the Immune System during Tissue Regeneration of Imaginal Discs in Manduca sexta. Award: $620.


Sheree Watson, Institute of Environmental Health, Oregon Health and Science University, Portland, Oregon. Advisors: Tawnya Peterson and Joe Needoba. Project: Role of Microbes in the Restoration of Ridal Wetlands in the Columbia River Estuary. Award: $706.


Hiromi Uno, Department of Integrative Biology, University of California, Berkeley, California. Major professor: Mary Eleanor Power. Project: Thermal Heterogeneities Induce Phenological Asynchrony of Prey Subsidy and Increase the Trophic Efficiency of Recipient Food Web. Award: $750.


Amber Elizabeth Ciravolo, Department of Geoscience, University of Nevada Las Vegas, Las Vegas, Nevada. Major professor: Eugene Smith. Project: Origin of Glass Shards from Pinnacle Point, South Africa. Award: $600.

Kelsey Brenna McCune, Department of Psychology, University of Washington, Seattle, Washington. Major professor: Renee Robinette Ha. Project: Social Versus Physical Cognition in Three Corvid Species. Award: $736.


Jamie Lee, Romberg Tiburon Center for Environmental Studies, San Francisco State University, San Francisco, California. Major professor: Frances P. Wilkerson. Project: Nutrient Uptake Kinetics of Microcystis aeruginosa in the San Francisco Estuary. Award: $750.


Lily Maxine Tarjan, Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, University of California Santa Cruz, Santa Cruz, California. Major professor: M. Tim TInker. Project: Determinants of Territory Quality and Male Reproductive Success in Southern Sea Otters (Enhydra lutris nereis). Award: $750.


Michelle A. Berney, Department of Biomedical Engineering, Oregon Health and Science University, Portland, Oregon. Major professor: Owen J.T. McCarty. Project: Thrombin Interactions with Clots Formed under Shear Flow: The Role of gamma'-Fibrinogen. Award: $735.


Gwen Conahan, Department of Biology, Romberg Tiburon Center, San Francisco State University, San Francisco, California. Major professor: Katharyn Boyer. Project: Nutrient Dynamics and Production in San Francisco Bay Eelgrass (Zostera marina) Beds: Food Web and Restoration Implications. Award: $620.

Virginia Jayne Emery, Department of Environmental Science, Policy and Management, University of California, Berkeley, California. Major Professor: Neil D. Tsutsu. Project: Parabiosis in Ant-Gardens: Nestmate Recognition in Multi-Partnered Ant Nests. Award: $750.


Kathryn A. Hedges, Department of Biological Sciences, Humboldt State University, Eureka, California. Major professor: Bruce A. O'Gara. Project: Copper Exposure Damages both Dopaminergic and GABAneurgic Neurons in the Nematode Caenorhabditis elegans. Award: $750.

Neil Losin, Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, University of California, Los Angeles, California. Major Professor: Greg Grether. Project: The Evolution of Competitive Mimicry in Indonesian Orioles (Oriolus spp.). Award: $750.


Kimberly E. Beatty, Department of Chemistry, California Institute of Technology, Pasadena, California. Major professor: David A. Tirrell. Project: Fluorescent Visualization of Proteins Traveling Through the Secretory Pathway. Award: $750.

Shawn Butcher, Zoology Department, Oregon State University, Corvallis, Oregon. Major professor: Jaga Giebultowicz. Project: Using Real-time PCR to Examine Variation of Expression of Detoxifying Enzymes in Drosophila Over the Course of a 24-hour Period. Award: $700.