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IGERT Trainees and Affiliates Receive Numerous Prestigious Awards


During the past year, trainees and affiliates of the National Science Foundation’s (NSF) Integrative Graduate Education and Research Traineeship (IGERT) program in Indoor Environmental Science and Engineering at The University of Texas (UT) received numerous prestigious awards. These awards were generally linked directly to their IGERT research, and reflect the quality and importance of research being done in this IGERT program.

Three IGERT students received awards from the International Society for Indoor Air Quality (ISIAQ). Affiliates Donghyun Rim and Chi Hoang, and trainee Michael Waring received all of ISIAQ’s best student paper awards, a clean sweep. They received their awards on stage at ISIAQ’s triennial Indoor Air meeting in Copenhagen, Denmark. Chi Hoang also received 3rd place for overall student achievement, which is weighted based on research activities and performance, academic performance, outreach and other activities.

Four IGERT trainees (Elliott Gall, Priscilla Guerrero, James Lo, Brent Stephens) received Grant-in-Aid awards from the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating, and Air-Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE). Few of these awards are given each year and it is rare for a university to receive two such awards, nonetheless four. These awards are given on the basis of research accomplishments and promise, and illustrate what a major society in the indoor air quality field thinks of the high quality research being conducted by IGERT trainees and affiliates in Indoor Environmental Science and Engineering at UT.

IGERT affiliates Donghyun Rim and Federico Noris received NIOSH research training awards. These awards are given to doctoral candidates who are doing research related to occupational exposures to contaminants. These awards, which come with financial assistance to support student research, reflect the benefits that affiliates received from the IGERT program in Indoor Environmental Science and Engineering at UT.

IGERT trainee Sonny Rosenthal received best student paper at the 2008 meeting of the Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication. Trainee Elizabeth Walsh received the UT School of Architecture’s outstanding student research award for her work on sustainable and affordable housing.

Finally, IGERT trainee Michael Waring received a prestigious UT Harrington Dissertation Fellowship for his academic performance and cutting-edge research related to indoor ozone chemistry. UT Harrington Dissertation Fellowships are generally considered the top doctoral-level fellowships given at the University of Texas at Austin. It is rare for engineering students to receive these awards; Michael was the only engineering student amongst over 15 recipients in 2008.

Address Goals

Almost all of the awards received by our IGERT trainees and affiliates were based on research accomplishments. As such, the awards reflect the importance of research discoveries made possible through the Indoor Environmental Science and Engineering IGERT program at the University of Texas at Austin. For example, trainee Elliott Gall discovered that passive ozone removal to activated fiber mats mounted on just a few walls in a home can reduce indoor exposure to ozone by 50% or more, and overall exposure to ozone by 25% or more.

Some of he awards received by IGERT trainees and affiliates required students to summarize their research findings to date and to develop short proposals related to their future work. This proposal process has an important learning component for IGERT trainees and affiliates, as many of them will likely wind up in academic or other research positions that require an ability to plan and develop research proposal.