UOG turtle biologist selected for National Science Foundation fellowship

(Photo from UOG)

Guam – University of Guam Sea Grant’s resident sea turtle biologist Josefa Muñoz was selected in April to join the distinguished 2019 National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship Program.

The national program recruits high-potential early-career scientists and engineers and supports their research training through a master’s or doctorate program at a U.S.-accredited institution.

After an extensive review process, Muñoz was notified that she was one of 2,000 awardees selected as a fellowship recipient for 2019. More than 12,000 students typically apply.

“I still can’t wrap my head around it,” she said. “People from the science community say that once you get this, you’re set for life.”

As an NSF graduate research fellow, Muñoz will receive an annual stipend of $34,000 for three years within the five-year fellowship period along with a $12,000 cost-of-education allowance to the institution in which she enrolls.

“We’re extremely proud of Sefa and know that she will go far,” said Austin Shelton, director of UOG Sea Grant and investigator on two NSF-funded grant projects at UOG. “She is only the second UOG alum to be selected for this prestigious fellowship. We look forward to her returning home with graduate degrees and continuing to help our island.”

The first UOG student to be selected was biology major Jerilyn Calaor last year.

“Josefa’s fellowship award is a high-caliber achievement that Guam and the whole region can be proud of,” said UOG President Thomas W. Krise. “We encourage all students to follow in her footsteps and to seize opportunities to make a larger impact.”

Shelton said the Sea Grant program will continue seeking opportunities to increase its research capacity, research training for students, and benefits to the community.

Muñoz received her bachelor’s degree in biology from UOG’s College of Natural & Applied Sciences in May 2017.