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RCI Student Support Fund

Rutgers Climate Institute Student Support Fund


About the Student Support Fund
The Rutgers Climate Institute Student Support Fund provides support for Rutgers student travel and related expenses for the purposes of climate change education and research.  The family of William H. Greenberg (Rutgers University Class of 1944) has graciously seeded the development of this fund.

The RCI Student Support Fund has been established to further students' education and scholarship, enable them to develop, conduct and collaborate with other academics, and improve their ability to translate their research to a range of constituencies (e.g., general public, other students, educators, policymakers, governmental and non-governmental organizations) all key to their training as the next generation of climate scientists and educators.  In addition, the Student Support Fund facilitates students' ability to showcase their research, network and establish connections that will contribute to their success once they have completed their education at Rutgers University.


Help Us Grow the Student Support Fund Here
By Clicking the link above, and making a donation, you can help other students improve their education, showcase their work, foster their communications skills, and develop scholarly collaborations.


+ Meet Our Students


Rohi Muthyala, Ph.D. Candidate, Geography

Rohi Muthyala focuses on Arctic hydrology and hydrological modeling. The main objective of her dissertation research is to model surface hydrological processes involved in the transport of meltwater over the surface of Greenland Ice Sheet (GrIS). A part of her research is to spatially expand her study area of single catchment into the southwest region of the ice sheet where supraglacial streams play a major role in transportation of melt water on the surface, using commercial satellite imagery and developing a model to simulate the surface hydrology on southwest GrIS.   In 2017, with support from Rutgers Climate Institute, Rohi attended the Polar Boot Camp, a four-day geospatial workshop organized by Polar Geospatial Center (PGC) and the University of Minnesota, focusing on applications of commercial satellite imagery for polar science and operations.  Building on the workshop instruction,  Rohi had a chance to work with the data useful for her dissertation at the PGC  high speed computation labs. After the workshop, she was was able to order the data required for her research from PGC and analyze it. The boot camp training enable Rohi to convert UAV (unmanned aerial vehicle) imagery collected in Greenland ( in 2017 & 2018) into a Digital Elevation Model (DEM) to analyze the supraglacial streams from her study area. She was also able to delineate the catchment using high resolution World View (WV-2) imagery obtained from PGC, in addition to the UAV imagery. Rohi noted, “This not only helped me achieve an objective of my dissertation but also allowed me to meet my peers in the field of polar science.”

Rutgers Ph.D. candidate Rohi Muthyala (first row, third from the right) with her peers at the Polar Boot Camp.




Marie McCrary, Ph.D. Candidate, Oceanography

Rutgers Oceanography graduate student, Marie McCrary, researches freshwater changes in the Beaufort Sea.  In October 2017, Marie applied RCI travel grant funds to attend the Forum for Arctic Modeling and Observational Synthesis (FAMOS) meeting in Woods Hole, MA as the work was directly related to her research. 

The goal of FAMOS meeting is to improve understanding of model output and observational data which shows changes in the Arctic Ocean over the past 20 years. These changes include increased water temperature and freshwater content and decreased sea ice cover. The FAMOS School for new scientists, held on the first day of the meeting covered many topics such as types of climate models, snow and sea ice, and mixing and eddies. The subsequent days included presentations on sea ice, biogeochemical modeling, freshwater transport, and the global effects of a changing Arctic.  During the meeting, Marie presented a poster on her research: A Lagrangian Analysis of Freshwater Transport in the Arctic.  Marie noted, “I met many potential collaborators and received excellent feedback on my poster presentation and this experience was vital in forming my dissertation topic.”

Rutgers graduate student Marie McCrary (red jacket all the way to the far right) and at the 2017 FAMOS meeting.


Natalie Teale, Ph.D. Candidate, Geography

With support from the Rutgers Climate Institute, Natalie Teale, Ph.D. candidate in Geography participated in, the Annual Meeting of the American Association of Geographers (AAG), located in Boston, MA in April 2017 where she was elected to the position of Young Scholar Director.

Nataile notes, “This meeting was remarkably productive for me, with several sessions directly applicable to my work, particularly sessions in synoptic climatology and the northeastern United States. I organized and convened three full sessions of talks in hydroclimatology, which were well attended as well as gave a talk of my preliminary dissertation research in discerning pathways of atmospheric water vapor transport into the northeastern United States. This research is novel in combining variables and methods that have not yet been combined for this region. The opportunity to present this research to experts in the field—both in the data and the methods—was extremely valuable at this stage of my research.”  

Natalie Teale, (fourth from left) at the 2017 Annual Meeting of the American Association of Geographers says , “This picture was taken shortly after the keynote lecture, and is particularly special because it pictures much of my extended academic family who remained in geography-climatology and attended the 2017 Annual Meeting of AAG. I am looking forward to recreating this picture in the future with my climatology peers at Rutgers.”



Sasha Leidman, Ph.D. Candidate, Geography

 Sasha Leidman, a graduate student in the Department of Geography used his award from the Rutgers Student Support Fund to attend the annual Association of American Geographers conference in Boston, Massachusetts in April 2017 where he presented "Shadows on Greenland: The Effect of Local Ice Topography on Albedo" based on data he had collected in Greenland during the summer of 2016.  Sasha won the Ralph Stockman Tarr Award for outstanding research on the cryosphere.  Reflecting on his conference participation, Sasha noted, "It was a wonderful experience listening and presenting to fellow cryosphere graduate students and talking about future research opportunities. I later attended the cryosphere group meeting and was elected to be a board member for the AAG section. Overall, my AAG experience was really fruitful and allowed me to expand my reach as a researcher to a broader, geography focused community. "  You can see Sasha's poster pdf here. (3.48 MB)


Carla Coronado, Ph.D. Candidate, Planning and Public Policy

Support from Rutgers Climate Institute, helped Planning and Public Policy Ph.D. candidate Carla Coronado with her living and transportation costs during her January - March 2017 internship with the Climate Change and Sustainability  Division  (CCS) of the Inter-American Development Bank in Washington, D.C. The IDB  is a multilateral institution and the main source of development financing for Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC). The CCS division works together with public and private financial institutions to implement climate governance systems, develop innovative schemes and instruments to promote investment in emissions reductions projects and programs, and to increase resilience to the impacts of climate change. Carla worked on a study of sustainable infrastructure to understand trends of social conflicts related to infrastructure projects in Latin America, including an academic paper to explore the relationship between social conflict and sustainable infrastructure in Latin America.

Carla explains,  "The CCS interest in this topic is motivated by the need for increasing current investment infrastructure rates in the LAC  region for tackling the sustainability challenges of our time that include sustainable growth, inclusive development and reducing climate risk. In line with the Paris agreement and the Sustainable Development Goals, the division seeks to foster the scale up of infrastructure investment that is socially inclusive, low carbon, and climate resilient. Despite the pressing need for building infrastructure for fostering development in Latin America, projects face multiple conflicts, especially of a social and environmental nature, which many times have caused delays and cost overruns, or even projects’  postposition and cancellation. This constitutes an important hurdle that the division wants to encourage governments in Latin America to address.  Evidence allows us to observe that conflict motivations highlight the need for developing infrastructure that embraces sustainability values and suggests that more sustainable projects are more likely to work out socio-environmental conflicts. Results also speak about the economic convenience of developing projects in a more sustainable way, which from a governmental and communities’  perspective would allow to take advantage of the benefits that infrastructures projects yield, and from a private sector perspective would reduce the risks of incurring in cost overruns and project delays and/or  cancellations.  Doing this internship was a tremendous opportunity that allowed me to start getting involved with the type of organizations I aim to work with in the future."

Carla Coronado during her 2017 internship at the Inter-American Development Bank, Washington , DC

Ana Mahecha, Ph.D. Candidate, Geography

Ana Mahecha, a Ph.D. candidate in Geography used her travel grant award to participate in the American Association of Geographers' Annual Meeting in Boston, MA from April 5-9, 2017 where she presented preliminary results of her dissertation research "Adaptive challenges to climate change and alternative economic agri-food futures in the Capital-Region of Bogotá" in the paper session "Food Security and Resilience in Mountain Environments". Ana’s research focuses on the opportunities and challenges within alternative food networks that can provide small-scale farmers with possibilities and strategies to improve their livelihoods and respond to climate change.

Ana explained, “participation in this session allowed me to deepen into the discussion of food security and resilience to growing pressures on agro-environmental resources in a context of rapid environmental change. This particular session shed light on food security and resilience in the distinctive ecological and cultural geographies of mountain environments, such as the Andes, the Himalayas and the Sierra Nevada in California. Through the different presentations, we—the presenters—could discuss how mountainous regions are home to significant human cultural diversity, to unique biodiversity, and also are the source of multiple ecosystem services. These landscapes are also vulnerable to climate change, manifested primarily with more extreme rainfall and temperature patterns. Thus, we could share methods and approaches to understanding food security and resilience together, drawing from case studies.” Ana noted that her participation enabled her to meet and connect with scholars that are working on similar themes and allowed her to delve deeper into themes, methodologies, approaches and theories that are vital to her research as well as gave her the opportunity to meet scholars that helped her to think differently beyond her research topic.


Ioanna Tsoulou, Ph.D. Candidate, Urban Planning and Policy Development

In April 2017, Ioanna Tsoulou, a doctoral candidate in urban planning and policy development participated in the 11th Association of European Schools of Planning (AESOP) Young Academics Conference in Planning and Entrepreneurship, in Munich, Germany where she presented How Just is Sprawl? Links among Density and Environmental Justice in US Territories which addresses the issue of unsustainable urban development patterns widely known as sprawl, and their links to environmental injustice dimensions-mainly ozone and air toxics- in selected US counties and blocks.  Ioanna notes, “Existing literature linking directly those two phenomena is still in embryonic stages, and more research is needed to reveal the nature of their relationship, especially since environmental racism still persists and likely increases as climate change consequences become more severe.”  Ioanna received an award for best paper in her track which enables her to submit her research to the Journal of diSP-The Planning Review “The RCI Student Support Fund Award helped me present my work in progress and get meaningful feedback from other academics, along with establishing connections that will potentially contribute to future advancements in my field,” noted Ioanna.

Ioanna Tsoulou with her award at the Association of European Schools of Planning (AESOP) Young Academics Conference in Planning and Entrepreneurship dinner, Munich, Germany 2017

Ioanna Tsoulou photographing successful urban spaces in the city of Munich, Germany


Brian Zambri, Ph.D. Candidate, Atmospheric Sciences

Brian Zambri, a graduate student in Atmospheric Sciences attended the American Geophysical Union (AGU) 2016 Fall Meeting in San Francisco, CA where he presented Modeling Climate Impacts of the 1783-1784 Laki Eruption in Iceland.

Brian described his experience as "memorable." He noted, "In addition to seeing a lot of great science, I learned a lot about what makes a presentation (oral or poster) good and bad. As a result of the size of the conference and the diversity of its attendees, I saw examples of 'rookie mistaikes' to avoid as well as 'veteran tricks' to add to my presentation tools. I also participated in the Outstanding Student Paper Award contest and, while I didn't win an award, I received plenty of useful feedback on my talk from he three judges who attended my presentations."


Or Caspi, Ph.D. Candidate, Planning and Public Policy

Planning and Public Policy Ph.D. student Or Caspi presented E-bike Riding Routes and the Built Environment during a poster session at the 96th Annual Meeting of the Transportation Research Board (TRB) that took place in Washington, DC, in January 2017.  TRB is a Board of the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine and the TRB meeting is the world’s largest transportation conference. In 2017 it hosted over 13,000 transportation researchers, professionals, and students, and presented thousands of studies in hundreds of sessions. Or notes, “The main purpose of my participation in this meeting was the presenting of my study about the use of electric bicycles in Tel Aviv in a poster session. During the meeting, I also attended several sessions regard my main field of interest - bicycle transportation, including meetings, lecture sessions, and poster sessions.”

Ph.D. student Or Caspi at the 96th Annual TRB Meeting, January 2017.

“Thanks to the funding I got from Rutgers Climate Institute, I was able to participant in this magnificent conference. My participation allowed me to meet the leading bicycle and transportation researchers in the world, as well as many other interesting people, and gain a lot of new knowledge and many ideas toward my PhD dissertation,” acknowledged Or.


Samiah Moustafa, Ph.D. Candidate, Geography

In December 2016, Samiah Moustafa attended the American Geophysical Union (AGU) Fall Annual Conference in San Francisco, California. In addition to attending many invited talks, cryosphere sessions, poster presentations, and participation in an intermediate-level JavaScript Google Earth Engine Workshop Ms. Moustafa had the opportunity to engage with Cryosphere colleagues that culminated in securing four potential postdoctoral opportunities at a variety of domestic institutions and to attend a cryosphere career panel sponsored by the Association of Polar Early Career Scientists. "I successfully presented my latest research looking at inter-comparing modeled and observed discharge for three catchments along West Greenland to numerous colleagues, mentors, fellow graduate students, and Outstanding Student Poster Award judges. During my poster presentation, I received valuable feedback on my recent findings, of which I can incorporate into my third, first-author manuscript that is in preparation for submission to the Journal of Geophysical Research Earth Surface Processes."

Pictured above is Rutgers Ph.D. candidate Samiah Moustafa presenting  her latest dissertation research during the cryosphere hydrology poster session at AGU, December 15, 2016.

Samiah noted, "I am incredibly grateful for the Rutgers Climate Institute supporting my travel to attend and participate in the largest annual Earth Science conference in the world. In sum, by attending AGU, I was able to showcase my latest dissertation research, and by extension, promote the cutting-edge climate change research done at Rutgers University. Furthermore, attending AGU allowed me to gather valuable feedback on my latest research, connect with colleagues, network with new prospective collaborators, and secure several potential postdoctoral opportunities to set the stage for the next step in my career."

In January 2017, RCI also supported Samiah's participation in the Program for Arctic Regional Climate Assessment (PARCA) conference at NASA Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, MD where she had the opportunity to attend talks related to the latest research on the Greenland ice sheet as well as present her latest dissertation research. Networking during dinner led her to  postdoctoral research opportunities, and confirming collaboration to enable her to use a colleague’s ice core drilling data for a forthcoming manuscript.

"By attending PARCA, I was able to showcase my latest dissertation research, and by extension, promote the innovative climate change research done at Rutgers University. Furthermore, attending the conference allowed me to gather valuable feedback on my latest analyses done since the previous conference at AGU (Dec. 2016), connect with colleagues, network with new prospective collaborators (including a new collaboration with ice core scientists at Rowan University), and secure several additional postdoctoral opportunities to set the stage for the next step in my career."


Corey Gabriel, Ph.D. Candidate, Atmospheric Science

Corey Gabriel received support to attend the December 2016 American Geophysical Union Conference in San Francisco, California where he  presented his recent paper, "The G4Foam Experiment: Global Climate Impacts of Regional Ocean Albedo Modification," at http://www.atmos-chem-phys-discuss.net/acp-2016-849/#discussion  which has been accepted for final publication in Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics. "I would like to express my gratitude for the contributions both from the staff and of the donors of Rutgers Climate Institute.   

Their generosity made it in part possible for me to attend the 2016 AGU Fall Meeting and present a talk on my NSF-funded research.  Not only was it a privilege to present my work at such a high-impact conference, but the opportunity to meet many new people in my field and to see the presentation of important new work was essential to my development as a young scientist.  Attending conferences throughout my time at Rutgers has been incredibly valuable and organizations that make it easier for students to attend conferences like AGU are making huge contributions to many young careers," stated Corey.


Chris Free, Ph.D. Candidate, Oceanography 

"I am unbelievably grateful to the Rutgers Climate Institute for supporting my travel to the International Society of Limnology’s annual conference in Turin, Italy. The SIL Congress is the largest meeting of freshwater scientists worldwide and offered an incredible opportunity for me to promote my dissertation research on the impact of anthropogenic stressors on small-scale Mongolian fisheries, network with international scientists and potential collaborators, and learn about new developments in freshwater conservation research," states Chris.


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Chris Free, graduate student in Marine Science at the International Society of Limnology Conference in Turin, Italy, Summer 2016


"This experience would have been impossible without the generous support of the Rutgers Climate Institute."


Jennifer Hoey, Ph.D. Candidate, Ecology and Evolution

Student support from the Rutgers Climate Institute offset travel costs for me to attend the American Genetics Association Presidential Symposium in Pacific Grove, CA in July 2016. With a theme of “Local adaptation: from phenotype to genotype to fitness,” this was the perfect place for me to present a poster entitled: “Candidate loci under environmental selection in a panmictic marine population.”

Jennifer reports, "Attending this small, specialized conference allowed me to learn about findings and techniques being used to investigate local adaptation across a wide variety of flora and fauna. It also allowed me to present my findings on local adaptation in summer flounder, facilitating productive conversations about my research and generating ideas on how to best extend it into the future. Perhaps most importantly, I was able to connect and network with top scientists studying local adaptation, as well as other graduate students who are exploring similar questions and who may provide peer support as I build my career."

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Jennifer Hoey, Ecology and Evolution Grduate student at the American Genetics Presidential Symposum in Pacific Grove, CA with her poster


Jennifer Walker, Ph.D. Candidate, Marine and Coastal Sciences

Jennifer Walker, a Rutgers graduate student in the Department of Marine and Coastal Sciences, received an award from the RCI Student Support Fund to participate in the American Geophysical Union Conference in December 2015 where she both presented the poster “Holocene Relative Sea-Level Changes from Near-, Intermediate-, and Far-Field Locations” as well as co-convened the session “Feedbacks on Ice-Sheet Growth and Decay during the Last Glacial Cycle.”

Jennifer notes that presenting her poster, “gave me the opportunity to discuss my research with others, improving my science communication and allowing me to gain insights from other researchers about my work as well as affording me the opportunity to answer questions about my work.” As a session co-convener, Jennifer found it provided her with a leadership opportunity, “contributing to my advancement as a scientist.” In addition to conference activities, Jennifer was able to meet with scientists during lunch and evening activities with whom she expects to collaborate in the future.   “Forging new connections with other climate scientists will contribute to further collaboration in my future academic career.”

RCI Student Support Fund Awardee, Jennifer Walker with her poster at the 2015 AGU Conference.


Michael Brady, Ph.D. Candidate, Geography

Michael Brady, Rutgers graduate student in the Department of Geography, presented the poster, Collaborative community hazard exposure mapping: Distant Early Warning radar sites in Alaska’s North Slope, at the American Geophysical Union (AGU) Fall 2015 Conference sponsored through the RCI Student Support Fund.  "The poster presentation provided me with the opportunity to network and communicate my dissertation research," notes Michael.  Aas a result of his participation at AGU, Michael identified a number of concrete activities to advance his scholarship:  

  • He was invited to join the U.S. Permafrost Association (USPA)  and attended the association's meeting held during the AGU meeting.
  •  A US Permafrost Association member shared Michael's poster with his network, resulting in an introduction with the CEO and President of a private firm contracted to assess erosion risk of U.S. Air Force assets in Alaska's North Slope. There is interest in collaboration, which would open doors for stakeholder and community engagement during the research process, which is a critical need of the research.
  •  Michael was able to expand upon communication of his research to staff of the Polar Geospatial Center (PGC) at the University of Minnesota, which supports his research. As a result, the PGC Director allocated additional resources to support Michael's research and also highlighted it in a recent report to the U.S. National Science Foundation.
  •  Michael was invited to attend the Arctic Research Consortium of the United States (ARCUS) Arctic Research Community Reception by the ARCUS Executive Director which provided additional networking opportunities.
  •  Michael's research was chosen to be featured in an article by AGU 's Thriving Earth Exchange (TEX) as a good example of a scientist-community partnership that other researchers can learn from.

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Michael Brady, Rutgers graduate student (Geography) and a 2015 RCI Student Support Fund recipient

Michael Brady's Poster at AGU 2015
Collaborative community hazard exposure mapping: Distant Early Warning radar sites in Alaska’s North Slope



+ Information for Prospective Applicants

Information for Prospective Applicants
As the fund grows, RCI intends to expand its reach to undergraduate and master's degree students; however, initial eligibility is limited to Rutgers Ph.D. students whose major area of research is on climate change in the natural, social, health or policy sciences. The fund provides support to enable  Rutgers Ph.D. students  to participate in conferences, workshops, symposia, professional meetings, field activities, and visits to federal or state agencies or universities for educational or research purposes.  Eligible expenses include attendance fees, lodging, meals, and transportation.  The maximum award for any one student  will be $500 unless special circumstances can be identified by the student's faculty mentor.  

Application Deadlines
For travel and related expenses that will occur between January 1 and June 30, applications are due by 11:59 pm November 1.

For travel and related expenses that will occur between July 1 and December 31, applications are due by 11:59 pm May 1.

To Apply
To be considered for funding through the RCI Student Support Fund, a complete application package must include the elements as set forth in items 1 and 2 below by the appropriate application deadline. 

1. The applicant shall submit the information in a through f below as one single pdf document via email to Marjorie Kaplan, Associate Director, Rutgers Climate Institute (email to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.). 

a. Applicants name, email and telephone, major area of study, program year, anticipated date of graduation, advisor, GPA and date(s) of travel.

b. Funding amount requested and total estimated travel expense.

c. Up to three paragraphs describing specifically what the student is requesting support for and how such an award is in keeping with the purpose of the RCI student support fund.

d. Identification of any prior RCI travel funding support.

e. Acknowledgement that if awarded, upon completion of the student's travel, the student will submit a brief report to RCI on activities during the trip and the benefits of the trip to the student's scholarship. Photographs or images of activities documenting the student's experiences should be included.

f. A curriculum vitae is optional but encouraged.

2. The applicant's faculty mentor shall submit a brief statement of support for the student's travel via email directly to Marjorie Kaplan, Associate Director, Rutgers Climate Institute (email to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.).


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