Good to GRO: We’ve got more on student’s $50K fellowship

We told you here recently about UW-Green Bay senior Robyn Nielsen, who is the University’s first-ever student to earn a $50,000 Greater Research Opportunities (GRO) Fellowship from the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). As part of the award, the Environmental Policy and Planning and Environmental Science double-major receives $20,700 per year of academic support for two years, as well as $8,600 for an internship at an EPA facility. Our recent press release introduced Log readers to Nielsen, and our expanded feature story includes more about her background, motivations and plans for the future. Read story.
  

From farm to fellowship: Student earns $50K EPA award

nielsenWisconsin has quickly become No. 1 in the country for organic dairy and beef farms. Public demand has led to rapid development of organic farms across the state. While organic agriculture produces a quality product that consumers can feel good about, the fact remains that organic agriculture still produces waste. And that’s where UW-Green Bay’s Robyn Nielsen comes in.

Nielsen is a senior Environmental Policy and Planning and Environmental Science double major who just received final award notification for a $50,000 Greater Research Opportunities (GRO) Fellowship from United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

The GRO Fellowship is designed to enhance and support quality environmental education for undergraduate students enrolled in an environmentally related field. The overall objective of the GRO Fellowship Program is to encourage undergraduates in these areas to continue their education beyond the baccalaureate level and pursue careers in fields that address environmental problems and issues. Nielsen is the first UW-Green Bay student to receive the GRO Fellowship.

Nielsen’s experiences growing up on a non-commercial dairy farm in Newton, Wis. have increased her awareness of some of the challenges organic dairy farmers face when dealing with nonpoint source pollution.

“I saw some of these concerns firsthand in my neighborhood,” Nielsen said, “and knowing what I know now, I want to work with conventional farms to improve their footprint.”

Nielsen’s interests still focus around zero waste, resource recovery and recycling, but she is also interested in alternative agriculture. Nielsen hopes to intern with Glacierland Resource Conservation and Development, Inc. in Green Bay in the spring.

“I’m hoping those two programs, plus my internship this summer with the Clean Water Action Council, will all come together into some kind of cohesive conceptual unit,” Nielsen said. “I got away from that when I became enchanted by new concepts in solid waste management (that sounds bizarre) but recently I came in contact with someone who has really helped me to remember why I came to school in the first place. Of course, all of these ideas are really part of a greater whole of just living more sustainably, but either way, here I am.”

Nielsen is excited to tackle new territory.

“My subject area was nonpoint source pollution,” she said, “and I hope to be posted somewhere that is doing something with agricultural runoff or something like that.”

Story by Daniele Frechette 

Credit Wenger, Levintova with assists on student’s $50,000 EPA award

We shared news in last week’s Log Extra that UW-Green Bay senior Robyn Nielsen is the University’s first-ever recipient of a Greater Research Opportunities Fellowship from the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). The $50,000 fellowship provides up to $20,700 per year of academic support for the student’s junior and senior years and $8,600 for an internship at an EPA facility in the summer between the student’s junior and senior years. We forgot to credit the role of Associate Prof. Katia Levintova of Public and Environmental Affairs in encouraging and assisting Nielsen’s candidacy, and Prof. Emeritus Robert Wenger of Natural and Applied Sciences for doing the same. Wenger has served on the EPA’s review panel for the fellowships, and he shared word earlier this year that, from what he has seen, a top UW-Green Bay student could very easily merit strong consideration. While Wenger did not vote on Nielsen’s proposal, he encouraged UW-Green Bay faculty to identify possible applicants, and he volunteered to counsel those candidates on submitting the strongest possible proposals.

UW-Green Bay senior earns $50K EPA research fellowship

post-story-nielsenUW-Green Bay senior Robyn Nielsen is the University’s first-ever recipient of a Greater Research Opportunities (GRO) Fellowship from the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

Nielsen, who is double-majoring in Environmental Policy and Planning and Environmental Science, recently received final notification of the $50,000 fellowship, which provides up to $20,700 per year of academic support for the student’s junior and senior years and $8,600 for an internship at an EPA facility in the summer between the student’s junior and senior years.

The GRO Fellowship is designed to enhance and support quality environmental education for undergraduate students enrolled in an environmentally related field. It is designed to encourage undergraduates in environmentally related fields to continue their education beyond the baccalaureate level and pursue careers in fields that address environmental problems and issues.

Nielsen’s strong organic agricultural background has steered her toward a career working with agriculture and sustainability, she said. Growing up on a non-commercial dairy farm in Newton, Wis. has increased Nielsen’s awareness of some of the challenges farmers face when dealing with nonpoint source pollution.

Nielsen’s interests include zero waste, resource recovery and recycling, as well as alternative agriculture practices. Along with her fellowship, she will receive a paid internship with the EPA in the summer of 2015. The prospect of working with the EPA is exciting for Nielsen.

“I am not sure where I will be working, or what kind of work I will be doing,” Nielsen said, “but I can’t wait for this excellent opportunity.”

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EPA fellowships seen as good match for UW-Green Bay students

Robert Wenger, professor emeritus of Natural and Applied Sciences, was in Washington, D.C., last week where he participated in the work of an Environmental Protection Agency proposal review panel. The panelists reviewed proposals submitted under the GRO Fellowship Program. Wenger reports that the GRO (Greater Research Opportunities) Program is tailor-made for qualified UW-Green Bay undergraduate students who are majoring in an environmentally related field. Information about the program can be found at www.epa.gov/ncer/rfa/2014/2014_gro_undergrad.html. Wenger encourages faculty members to identify eligible and qualified students and urge them to apply. The next call for proposals is likely to appear in the fall. Wenger would be happy to talk with anyone who wishes to learn about the program.