Graduate Fellows

"The GCSC effectively brought me to the University of Utah. My advisor's affiliation, the financial support, as well as the promise of interdisciplinary training were simply too good to pass up. I have been elated by the opportunity to dive into collaborative, interdisciplinary work, and even more appreciative of the passionate community within the GCSC."

- Chris Zajchowski, GCSC Fellow

The GCSC First Year Fellowship helps attract top students who have research interests around the broad themes of the environment and sustainability, and who seek graduate training that extends beyond the scope of a single discipline. While these students will receive their degrees from different departments across campus, the GCSC provides interdisciplinary training experiences that will help prepare students for broad engagement and collaboration in the professional realm.

Fellows are also eligible to apply for GCSC's small grants in support of research and travel to professional meetings.

For information on fellowship requirements and the selection process, see  About the First Year GCSC Fellowship.

GCSC Fellow Cohorts

Kevin fagundo-ojeda, city & metropolitan planning
I completed a bachelor’s degree in Sociology from the University of Puerto Rico and a master’s degree in Community Development and Planning from Clark University. While in Puerto Rico I worked in research related to urban transformations, food systems, migration, industrialization and disasters in San Juan. During the summer of 2019 I worked with The Center for Puerto Rican Studies at Hunter College on a research focused on Puerto Rican migrants in New England following Hurricane Maria. I will pursue a PhD in Metropolitan Planning, Policy and Design at the Department of City and Metropolitan Planning. I will be working with Dr. Ivis García-Zambrana on topics of disaster resiliency, health, policy and housing in Puerto Rico.
noah hirshorn, atmospheric sciences
I grew up in Colorado and spent a lot of time in the mountains which influenced my decision to study environmental science with a chemistry concentration at Colorado College, where I was part of the Task Force on Climate Change. In summer 2019, I interned for the NASA Student Airborne Research Program which piqued my interest in the atmospheric sciences, specifically aerosol chemistry. I am pursuing a M.S. in atmospheric science as part of  Dr. Gannet Hallar’s group. My specific research is focused on determining whether or not atmospheric mercury influences new particle formation as well as measuring trace gases and meteorological conditions for a larger NSF campaign studying atmospheric mercury.
Kyle Kittelberger - biology
I am an avid birdwatcher, entomologist, and wildlife photographer, fascinated by the beauty and complexity of the natural world. For my undergraduate studies at Dartmouth College, I double majored in biology and environmental studies, with a focus on ecology and conservation, and researched the arthropod community functional diversity and trophic relationships of a northern forest for my honors biology thesis. Over the years I have worked as an avian field researcher in Wyoming, California, and Turkey, and have a long term ongoing research project on hemipteran hoppers in my home state of North Carolina.
As a PhD student at the University of Utah, I will be working with Dr. Cagan Sekercioglu where I will be focusing on the natural history and conservation of birds, including studying which attributes make certain species vulnerable to anthropogenic pressures and therefore more susceptible to extinction. In particular I am interested in the effects that climate change and habitat degradation have on both bird migration in riparian regions and elevational range distributions of montane species.
Roxanne Lamson, Anthropology
I received my B.S. in Anthropology and Criminology from the University of Utah in 2019.  I will be retuning to the U for my MS in Anthropology under the guidance of Dr. Brian Codding.
As is made clear by the United Nations sustainable development goals to transform our world, social inequality underlies many of the problems facing the world today. Yet how and why social inequality emerges remains poorly understood. In graduate school, I will seek to identify and quantify the environmental and social factors that enable inequality to emerge and persist across prehistoric groups in the U.S. Southwest, particularly the Four Corners area. I am pursuing a career as a professor. My goal is not only to teach, but also to continue to expand my research and focus on the integration of student involvement with projects.
Delaney Mosier, mathematics
When I began my undergraduate studies at the University of Utah, I was broadly interested in studying mathematics. During my first year at the U, I started working with Dr. Ken Golden on mathematically modeling sea ice concentration fields in polar regions. After graduating with my BS in Mathematics from the U, I now have a focus on my research interests and a drive to make a global difference. I will continue conducting research with Dr. Golden as a PhD student in Applied Mathematics. I plan to use partial differential equation models of sea ice concentration fields to augment global climate models. I also hope to work toward a better understanding of the effect of dynamic and thermodynamic forcing from atmospheric and oceanic processes on sea ice concentration.  I am thrilled to have found a unique field combining two of my passions: mathematics and environmental activism. I know this work will be increasingly essential in helping to predict the fate of the polar ice packs and the ecosystems they support, as the planet continues to warm.
Douglas Pedersen, Mechanical Engineering
After four years in the United States Marine Corps, I obtained my Bachelors degrees in Mathematics and Mechanical Engineering at Michigan Technological University in the frigid upper peninsula. While at Michigan Tech, I discovered a love of sustainable energy systems and researched thermal chemical batteries for electric vehicles under the guidance of Dr. Sajjad Bigham. At the University of Utah, I will be pursuing a Master`s degree in Mechanical Engineering under Dr. Roseanne Warren. My research will focus on life cycle assessment modeling of batteries.
Delaney Sillman, City & Metropolitan Planning
Being an Iowa native, I have seen the way that our interactions with the environment can completely reshape a landscape. My passion for changing the way that humans interact with the natural environment was encouraged at the University of Iowa where I earned a B.S. in Global Health and a B.A. in International Studies. At the University of Utah I am pursuing a Masters in City and Metropolitan Planning, under Dr. Alessandro Rigolon. I look forward to pursuing my interests in public health, the built environment, and sustainability.