The Huck Institutes of the Life Sciences

Six Huck Institutes IGDP students receive awards in spring 2018

Six Huck Institutes students of notable achievement honored with awards

The Huck Institutes of the life sciences boasts a cohort of exceptionally capable and talented students. We would like to highlight the achievements of several of our most highly engaged scholars, who have been rewarded for their diligence in study and discovery in the the year 2018.


Both Jordan Hughey and Makaylee Crone were selected from a pool of over 12,000 applicants to receive the National Science Foundation fellowship. This fellowship serves to recognize students advancing research and teaching in fields such as science, technology, engineering and mathematics.


Jordan Hughey is a doctoral student in the bioinformatics and genomics program who has been working toward this honor since his undergraduate studies. “Helping people is what drives my passion for research, and the GRF will benefit my career and enable me to help people to the best of my ability,” Hughey said. “The National Science Foundation and I believe in promoting diversity in every field, and I hope I can show young people, who identify with my background, that they can do it.”


Makaylee Crone is an incoming doctoral student in the ecology program. Her research focuses on how behavior and gene expression changes in honey bees after pesticide exposure, particularly pesticides which mimic the hormone responsible for honey bee task allocation. “I would like to expand this research to include various species of native bees,” Crone said.  “I attribute my success to all of my mentors from my undergraduate lab at Texas A&M, the Rangel Honey Bee Lab.”


Natali Ozber is a PHD candidate in the plant biology graduate program, and recipient of the Martin Graduate Assistant Outstanding Teaching Award. She aims to promote critical thinking skills in the students with whom she works. “I encourage students to participate in in-class discussions and voice their opinions,” she explained. “I let them know that all their contributions are valuable.” By encouraging her students to engage in class, Ozber pushes them to develop the skills necessary to excel academically.


Divyanshi Srivastava has been awarded the Academic Computing Fellowship. A doctoral student in the bioinformatics and genomics program, her research focuses on deep learning applications, with the ultimate goal of designing efficient clinical tissue engineering systems. Her research “will result in both broadly applicable bioinformatics tools and unprecedented levels of insight into gene regulation,” said her graduate advisor, Shaun Mahony.


Adwitia Dey, doctoral student in the integrative and biomedical physiology program, has received the Alumni Association Dissertation Award. This achievement is only one of many in a long line of awards, including but not limited to: The American Association of Immunology Young Investigator’s Award, 2nd Place in the Biological Sciences at the Gamma Sigma Delta-Penn State Research Expo, and the American Physiological Society Caroline Tum Suden/Frances Hellebrandt Professional Opportunity Award.  


Chad Nihranz, a doctoral student in the ecology program, has been chosen to receive the Intercollege Graduate Student Outreach Achievement Award. Involved in science outreach at both a local and national scale for many years, he employs creative means of teaching complex biological concepts to age groups ranging from elementary to the university level. “One of the greatest satisfactions that I have gained from my involvement in science outreach,” Nihranz said, “is knowing that I have taken part in the scientific learning process and that I may have inspired some students to continue learning about science.”


We commend each of these students for all their hard work and diligent study, and wish them continued successes throughout their future studies and professional careers.