Two Major EPA Fellowships Won

Posted: November 29, 1999 at 1:00 am, Last Updated: November 30, -0001 at 12:00 am

By Carrie Secondo

Dee Mills, a senior research associate at the Institute for Biosciences, Bioinformatics, and Biotechnology, and Tom Huff, manager of the Shared Research Instrumentation Facility, have both been awarded significant fellowships from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

The Science To Achieve Results (STAR) fellowships are highly competitive, with only 200 fellowships awarded each year. Huff’s and Mills’s applications were selected from almost 2,000 nationwide. The fellowship provides up to $34,000 per year of support.

Mills, a doctoral candidate in Environmental Science and Public Policy, won her award based on a research proposal. She will monitor changes in microbial communities of bacteria which can use hazardous wastes such as spilled petroleum as a food source, and ultimately break it down to carbon dioxide and water, in turn removing the hazardous waste found in contaminated soils. Her research could help environmental scientists better understand what happens to the soil biota during the clean-up of many different hazardous wastes that pollute the environment.

Huff won a three-year fellowship from the EPA to pursue doctoral work in Environmental Science and Public Policy based on his transcripts, a goal statement, and a narrative statement describing his past, present, and future goals and activities. Huff came to George Mason in 1992 as a 36-year-old student pursuing a second undergraduate degree in chemistry. After two years, he was accepted into the master’s program in Chemistry and was granted a graduate research assistantship in the Environmental Chemistry Laboratory, where he studied methods of detecting extremely low levels of toxic pollutants in local waterways such as the Chesapeake Bay and the Potomac and Anacostia Rivers.

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