First cohort of Tarleton students complete external funding fellowship program

Tarleton State University students among the first cohort of participants in the new Extern Funding Fellowship program included (front, l-r) Cristian Botello, Kimberly Eickholt, Breena Riley, Sabrina Hetzel, Tracy Brown; (back, l-r) Lucas Ringo, Lane Allen, Edward Smith and Preston Ward. Tarleton Faculty Research Fellows look forward to welcoming a new cohort in 2019.

STEPHENVILLE (February 4, 2019) — A new external funding program at Tarleton State University aimed at preparing students for graduate school and seeking fellowships has seen its first cohort reach completion.

Spearheaded by the Faculty Research Fellows, Tarleton undergraduate and graduate students were taught how to craft fellowship and external funding applications that shine — and the efforts have already paid off.

The 12 students who completed the program each received a stipend funded by President’s Circle and Academic Circle grants to the Office of Research & Innovation. Three of the 12 have received funding to pursue their research interests.

The Faculty Research Fellows accepted applications last year for the Fall 2018 External Funding Fellowship Program, and those admitted received training during a four-part workshop series to apply for a minimum of two sources of external funding.

Workshops explored how to develop personal statements, curriculum vitae and other application materials. During a panel presentation, Drs. Kristin Herrmann and Dustin Edwards from the Department of Biological Sciences and Dr. Eunsung Kan from the Texas A&M AgriLife Research & Extension Center at Stephenville showed the cohort how to make a strong case for external funding.

Dr. Amber Harris Bozer, a Tarleton Faculty Research Fellow and assistant professor of psychological sciences, said more than 25 applications for external funding were prepared. Many applications are still under review.

Preston Ward received Google’s Cloud Platform grant for ongoing efforts to help quantify and fight gerrymandering; Edward Smith received an assistantship and fellowship to attend Baylor University’s Ph.D. program in mathematics; and Breena Riley received a fellowship from the National Science Foundation to travel to Sweden as one of the first cohort members of the Association for the Sciences of Limnology and Oceanography research exchange program.

Riley was awarded the fellowship for her project “Photosynthesis to respiration ratios and diatom assemblages along stream lengths in northern Sweden.”

The funding program graduates are Lane Allen, graduate student in biology; Cristian Botello, graduate student in psychological sciences; Tracy Brown, graduate student in psychological sciences; Kimberly Eickholt, graduate student in clinical mental health counseling; Sabrina Hetzel, undergraduate student in mathematics and economics; John Lozano, undergraduate student in environmental engineering; Tu Nguyen, graduate student in mathematics; Jacob Raney, graduate student in medical laboratory sciences; Breena Riley, graduate student in biology; Lucas Ringo, undergraduate student in environmental engineering; Edward Smith, graduate student in mathematics; and Preston Ward, undergraduate student in mathematics and computer engineering.

“The program was incredibly useful. It opened my eyes to how many funding sources are available and how to apply to them,” Ward said. “Additionally, I was able to learn directly from people who are on funding committees and what they look for, and get direct feedback on what to do and what not to do. I’m very happy I participated, as it will be invaluable for my future.”

Bozer said the Faculty Research Fellows will solicit applications for the second cohort later this year. For more information on the Office of Research & Innovation and its resources, visit

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