Berens ’13, McLean ’12 awarded EPSCoR graduate assistantships

Jul 19th, 2013 @ 11:49 am | Author: Greg Vanney
Two Valley City State University alumni—Jeffrey Berens ’13 and Erin McLean ’12— have received 2013 Graduate Student Research Assistantship (GSRA) awards at North Dakota State University (NDSU) from the North Dakota Experimental Program to Stimulate Competitive Research (ND EPSCoR). The awards carry a monthly stipend for up to 24 months of research.

Berens will conduct research under Ned Dochtermann, Ph.D., assistant professor in the Department of Biological Sciences at NDSU. Berens’s research will involve community structure and population dynamics among small mammal species in the Sheyenne National Grasslands. Berens holds a Bachelor of Science degree in fisheries and wildlife science from VCSU.

Erin McLean’s research is in soybean aphid pest management under Deirdre Prischmann-Voldseth, Ph.D., assistant professor in the NDSU Department of Entomology. McLean will be looking at environmental factors and natural enemies that affect aphid densities in soybeans. She holds a Bachelor of Science degree in biology with a minor in psychology from VCSU.

Both Berens and McLean did undergraduate research with botanist Jerzy Bilski, Ph.D., VCSU assistant professor, studying how the growth of certain grass-family crops are affected by coal fly ash and whether those crops might possibly serve as plant cover for coal fly ash landfills.

The ND EPSCoR program is designed to strengthen ties between North Dakota’s two public research universities, North Dakota State University (NDSU) and the University of North Dakota (UND), and the science and mathematics departments of the North Dakota University System baccalaureate institutions and North Dakota tribal colleges. The program increases in-state opportunities for graduates of NDUS baccalaureate universities and North Dakota tribal colleges to obtain master’s and or doctoral degrees in science, engineering and mathematics at NDSU and UND.