Vice President for Research announces 15 students in 2023-2024 cohort of VPR Fellows

Fifteen new students have been selected to the prestigious VPR Graduate Fellows program for 2023-24, a program sponsored by the Office of the Vice President for Research.  

Colorado State University Administration BuildingThe program accelerates excellence in research by engaging top students from programs across the University. VPR Fellows are eligible to receive up to $4,000 each in scholarships and travel support to present at academic conferences and will attend professional development workshops to help them successfully transition to their careers after graduation.  

Now in its eighth year, the program is designed to be a transformative scholarly experience for the students as well as for faculty to mentor next-generation talent. The new cohort represents 14 departments and units and seven colleges at CSU.   

“In their early careers, these students have already demonstrated excellence, creativity, and a commitment to innovation. Now they will have a unique opportunity to participate in a curriculum that enriches their sense of agency, celebrates diversity, equity and inclusion, and highlights the power of team science approaches,” said Heather Pidcoke, CSU’s chief medical research officer. “The OVPR leadership team learns from every cohort and the VPR Fellows learn to see themselves as future leaders in discovery.” 

Aaunterria Bollinger-Deters, a new Fellow from the College of Liberal Arts, said the funds and support afforded by the program are a big career boost. 

“Being awarded the VPR Fellowship means that I can confidently apply for professional development opportunities like conferences and not be worried about raising money for travel expenses,” Bollinger-Deters said. “As a doctoral student planning to enter the job market next year, access to the funds from this award has the potential to be career altering as I continue to grow my professional network, and I am very grateful.” 

Selection process 

This year’s VPR Fellows were chosen from over 100 graduate student applicants who submitted 300-word research abstracts and the written endorsement of their advisor. Twenty-one reviewers, including CSU faculty and former VPR Fellows, volunteered their time to review applications and determine the 15 finalists. 

On May 10, the OVPR will host a celebration at the Translational Medicine Institute to welcome the new cohort of VPR Fellows and their advisors and bid farewell to the previous cohort. They will be joined by the VPR Anschutz Fellows, which is a separate program focused on research in pandemic prevention.  Among CSU officials scheduled to be present to acknowledge the fellows are Vice President Alan Rudolph, Senior Associate Vice President Sam Halabi and Graduate School Dean Colleen Webb. 

2023-24 VPR Fellows 

  • Amir Alayoubi, biology. Now streaming: Neural mechanisms of acoustic communication. 
  • Marc Alessi, atmospheric science. Surface warming storylines constrain global climate projections. 
  • Aaunterria Bollinger-Deters, journalism and media communication. Reimagining role-play: The visual reconceptualizing of Black women’s relationship with power. 
  • Rachel Brady, clinical sciences. Empowering the innate immune system to tackle cancer in people and dogs. 
  • Rosaline Danzman, chemical and biological engineering. Is a nucleus clairvoyant? Predicting cell health from nuclear shape. 
  • Brendan Davidson, political science. Assessing renewable energy work for a sustainable future. 
  • Tais de Menezes, agricultural and resource economics. Recent disruptions in supply and impacts on beef retail prices. 
  • Rachel Jones, horticulture and landscape architecture. Metal speciation in diverse sample matrices: land use, food safety, and human nutrition. 
  • Curtis Kline, political science. Designing agroecological strategies to protect biodiversity and livelihoods. 
  • Elisa McGhee, geosciences. Microseismicity and ocean gravity wave coupling of the Ross Ice Shelf, Antarctica. 
  • Megan Moran, human development and family studies. The role of engagement in the efficacy of mindfulness training for adolescents. 
  • Christopher Patrick, health and exercise science. The role of the reticulospinal tract in mobility impairments in people with multiple sclerosis. 
  • Ashley Cozette Romero, fish, wildlife and conservation biology. Effects of introduced rats on island forest birds: demography, health, and trophic cascades. 
  • Callie Slaughter, cell and molecular biology. Nasal probiotics: a breath of fresh health. 
  • Rachel Tremaine, mathematics. Investigating motivations and resources for equity-focused instructional change in undergraduate math departments.