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IGERT Trainees and Affiliates Receive Numerous Prestigious Awards


During the past year, trainees and affiliates of the National Science Foundation’s (NSF) Integrative Graduate Education and Research Traineeship (IGERT) program in Indoor Environmental Science and Engineering at The University of Texas (UT) received numerous awards. These awards were generally linked directly to their IGERT research and reflect the quality and importance of research being done in our IGERT program. Since the inception of our IGERT program, our trainees and affiliates have received 12 American Society of Heating Refrigerating and Air Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE) Grant-In-Aid (GIA) awards, an unprecedented number for any university. Each GIA provides students with $10,000 to be used for travel, supplies, and publication costs. During the past year three trainees (Brandon Boor, Ellison Carter, Erin Darling) each received a Grant-In-Aid (GIA) award from ASHRAE to continue their innovative research related to improvements in indoor environmental quality. Boor is studying re-suspension of particles from indoor surfaces and exposure to brominated flame retardants in beds. Carter is studying enhanced activated carbon for the removal of formaldehyde from indoor air. Darling is studying the use of earthen materials for reducing ozone concentrations and related reaction products in buildings.

Trainee Ellison Carter was recently informed that she will receive a prestigious EPA STAR Fellowship to complete her Ph.D. The timing of this award coincides with Carter’s completion of her IGERT program and allows her to carry on the important research that she began as an IGERT trainee. Trainee Elliott Gall received a scholarship from the Central Texas Chapter of the Air & Waste Management Association for his research focused on primary and secondary emissions of volatile contaminants from several popular green building materials. Trainee Erin Darling also received a Luedecke Endowed Presidential Fellowship from the University of Texas. Trainee Elizabeth Walsh received a Doctoral Student Scholarship through the IGERT Program in GIS at the University at Buffalo to participate in the Vespucci Summer Institute on GIS in Italy.

Address Goals

Almost all of the awards received by our IGERT trainees and affiliates were based on the importance of their research or specific research accomplishments. As such, the awards reflect the importance of research discoveries made possible through the Indoor Environmental Science and Engineering IGERT program at the University of Texas at Austin. For example, trainee Erin Darling has shown that perlite-based ceiling tile and clay wall coverings can act to reduce indoor ozone without concomitant formation of oxidized reaction products.

Some of the awards received by IGERT trainees and affiliates required students to summarize their research findings to date and to develop short proposals related to their future work. This proposal process has an important learning component for IGERT trainees and affiliates, as many of them will likely develop careers in academic or other research positions that require an ability to plan and develop research proposal.