Texas State students receive NSF graduate research fellowships
Two current Texas State graduate students and two alumnae have received the 2021 National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowships (NSF GRFP), which are awarded to graduate students in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics.
Fatimah Bouderdaben and Sara Moya were among 2,704 awarded, selected from among more than 12,000 applicants. The NSF fellowship provides three years of support, including a $34,000 annual stipend and a cost-of-education allowance of $12,000.
Bouderdaben is a second-year master’s student in biological anthropology. “The research plan I applied with was titled ‘Exploring the Lasting Skeletal Effects of Hormone Replacement Therapy in Forensic Anthropology.’ This project aims to conduct a longitudinal study of transgender individuals who undergo Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT) and assess skeletal changes to their body that could be seen by forensic anthropologists after death. Most studies of the effects of HRT are based on soft tissue changes, which decompose. By assessing skeletal changes, my research could potentially find skeletal changes that are a direct result of HRT and lead to the creation of trans-identifying characteristics for forensic anthropological methods.
“Currently, there is no way for forensic anthropologists to assess unidentified skeletal remains of a transgender individual and know the remains belong to a transgender individual. This research hopes to change that,” Bouderdaben said.
Moya (B.A. ’18), a second-year master’s student in geography, is the first recipient from the Texas State Department of Geography. “My research asks: What are the spatiotemporal patterns of cocaine and wildlife trafficking from 1985 to 2015? The goal is to further investigate the connections between the illicit commodity chains of cocaine and wildlife trafficking, and thus, provide a more detailed picture of crime convergence and the intertwined environmental threats of drug and wildlife trafficking throughout the Americas,” she said.
Dr. Andrea Golato, the dean of the Graduate College, said that research coordinators Dr. Andrea Hilkovitz and Dr. Brian Smith helped the students submit compelling applications.
"NSF Fellows contribute to our reputation as an aspiring R1 university. The continued success of our students in the GRFP competition is evidence of their outstanding academic preparation, the unique research experiences available to them at Texas State, the high-quality mentorship they receive from the faculty, and the one-on-one fellowship advising services we offer," Hilkovitz said.
Two Texas State graduates were also named as NSF GRFP recipients, both are now graduate students at The University of Texas at Austin. Lisa Frammolino (B.S. ’18) graduated summa cum laude with a degree physics and minor in applied mathematics. Her field of study is physics and astronomy. Gabriela O'Connor (B.A. ’18) graduated with a degree in German and French and minor in Spanish with honors. Her honors thesis was directed by Dr. Peter Golato. Her field of study is social sciences-linguistics.