Presidential Graduate Fellowships Announced
University of Nebraska President L. Dennis Smith has announced the awarding of seven Presidential Graduate Fellowships for academic year 2004-2005. Six of the students are seeking Ph.D. degrees --three at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, two at the University of Nebraska Medical Center-- and one at the University of Nebraska at Omaha. One student is pursuing a master’s degree at the University of Nebraska at Omaha. The fellowships include stipends of $16,500 at UNL and $20,000 at UNMC. At UNO, the fellowships provide $15,000 for the Ph.D. candidate and $12,000 for the master’s degree candidate. Funding for the fellowships is provided through donations to the University of Nebraska Foundation.

This year’s Presidential Graduate Fellows are:

Terceira A. Berdahl, a Ph.D. candidate in sociology at UNL. Her current research concentrates on the changing labor market and how it affects both men and women of various racial and ethnic groups, as well as workers with high and low skill levels. She is also interested in the social stratification that results from changes in labor markets. She has previously analyzed such issues as wage inequality between black and white women using data from a national longitudinal survey of youth. She holds a master of arts degree from UNL and a bachelor of arts degree from California State University-Sacramento, both in sociology.

Osman Gulsen, a Ph.D. candidate in agronomy and horticulture at UNL. His research interest is to improve genetic diversity in plants to improve them for human consumption. Such diversity can be achieved by genetic modifications, and some such modifications --using a variety of different plant genes-- have been shown to be both safe and readily acceptable by people. Other sources, such as genes from animals and insects may meet with some resistance by the public. He believes, however, that safe transgenic plants are possible in the near future. He earned his master of science degree in botany and plant sciences from the University of California-Riverside, and bachelor of science degree in horticulture from the University of Cukurova in Turkey.

Avinash Malshe, a Ph.D. candidate in marketing at UNL. His primary research interest is in the areas of organizational strategy, strategy implementation, and strategic outcomes. He is examining such topics as the evolution of organizational learning capabilities and the implementation of new organizational initiatives such as adoption of a marketing orientation. He plans to conduct personal interviews with executives of multinational corporations, as well as a multi-industry survey, to determine whether consumer-centric strategies can strengthen customer loyalty. He holds both a master of management studies degree and a bachelor of pharmacy degree from the University of Mumbai, India.

Qin Fang, a Ph.D. candidate in physiology at UNMC. She is interested in the adverse effects of nicotine on the cardiovascular system, and will be researching the influence nicotine has on potassium channels during her final year of graduate study. Her paper on nicotine’s restriction of blood vessels and the potential for strokes has been published in the American Journal of Physiology. In addition, the American Heart Association awarded her a pre-doctoral fellowship for 2002-2004. She holds bachelor’s and master’s degrees in medicine from the West China University of Medical Sciences.

Rajgopal Govindarajan, a Ph.D. candidate in biochemistry and molecular biology at UNMC. His research interest is in the field of prostate cancer treatment. He has published papers on such topics as intercellular communication and prostate cancer progression, management of hepatic diseases, and perspectives on cancer treatment. His recent research findings have shown for the first time how human prostate cancer cell lines are impaired by specific chemicals. He received the Norm and Bernice Harris award in cancer research in 2003. He received a bachelor’s degree in veterinary science from the Madras Veterinary College in India, and a master’s degree, also in veterinary science from the Indian Veterinary Research Institute.

Ling Ren, a Ph.D. candidate in criminal justice at UNO. She is co-author of a paper on community policing that is currently under review for publication in the Journal of Criminal Justice. In her native China, she published research articles on technical elements of criminal investigation and forensics, including the use of thin-layer chromatography to identify specific ball-pen ink, and techniques for examination of counterfeit bank notes. She holds a master of arts degree in criminalistics from the Institute of Forensic Science and Chinese People’s Public Security University, and a bachelor of arts degree in political science from the Chinese People’s Public Security University.

Shelley Manning Donnelly, a master’s degree candidate in English at UNO. She is currently preparing a paper for the Annual Western Literature Association meeting this fall. The paper is a wholly original appraisal of Kathleen Norris’ significance as a contemporary poet. She has also written original research abstracts for several professional conferences. She serves as a mentor to undergraduate students, ten of whom will be presenting papers at the national Sigma Tau Delta English honorary society’s conference. She earned her bachelor of arts degree in English with a minor in anthropology from Illinois Wesleyan University.

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