Auburn University graduate awarded National Science Foundation graduate research fellowship

20120409, Matthew Ramirez, Head Shot, Honors CollegeAUBURN UNIVERSITY – Auburn University Honors College graduate Matthew Ramirez has been awarded a National Science Foundation graduate fellowship.

Ramirez is the fourth Auburn student to be named a fellow this year, joining Nicole Garrison, Bianca Williams and Devin Kalafut.

The fellowship provides three years of support at $30,000 annually and an additional $10,500 cost of education allowance. The purpose of the fellowship program is to help ensure the vitality and diversity of the scientific and engineering workforce in the United States.

Ramirez, a 2011 College of Sciences and Mathematics graduate, worked under the direction of Wendy Hood in the Department of Biological Sciences. He completed his honors thesis on the functional changes in the gastrointestinal tract of lactating Columbian ground squirrels.

“The recognition of Matt’s proposal speaks volumes to his potential as a young scientist,” said Hood. “As an undergraduate researcher in my lab, Matt consistently worked at the level of a grad student. It’s been exciting to watch him progress.”

Ramirez will join the Fisheries Science Master’s Program at Oregon State University in the fall.

“I plan to use my graduate training to study the population dynamics of sea turtles, ultimately investigating the mechanisms driving changes in population structure,” said Ramirez. “This research can be used to guide further conservation research and develop effective management policies that will aid in the recovery of these threatened and endangered species.”

Two incoming Auburn students, Rebecca Koch and Alex Benz, recently admitted to the Department of Biological Sciences, were awarded NSF graduate research fellowships. The two applied from their home institutions.

The National Science Foundation’s Graduate Research Fellowship Program recognizes and supports outstanding graduate students in NSF-supported science, technology, engineering and mathematics disciplines who are pursuing research-based master’s and doctoral degrees at accredited U.S. institutions. For more information, go to

Contact: Paul Harris, The University Honors College, (334) 844-5860 (, or
Mike Clardy, Office of Communications and Marketing, (334) 844-9999 (