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Two PhD Students Win Fulbright Grants

Stephanie Galasso and Brian Horton have been awarded grants by the Fulbright U.S. Student Program for 2015-16. Horton is a third-year doctoral student in Anthropology who will travel to India. He will serve as a volunteer grant writer and researcher for the Humsafar Trust, helping to complete projects and proposals for their research with sexual minorities in Western India. Galasso, a third-year student in German Studies, will be affiliated with the University of Konstanz in Germany. She will explore the instability of the notion of elegy as it appears in German Romantic poetry.

Sea Sponge Anchors are Natural Models of Strength

Life may seem precarious for the sea sponge known as Venus’ flower basket. Tiny, hair-like appendages made essentially of glass are all that hold the creatures to their seafloor homes. But fear not for these creatures of the deep. Those tiny lifelines, called basalia spicules, are fine-tuned for strength, according to new research led by Brown University engineers, including doctoral student Michael Monn.

Four PhD Students to Teach at Wheaton College

Ashley Bowen-Murphy, Wanda Henry, Ioana Jucan and Stephanie Spera will teach at Wheaton College in 2015-16, through the Graduate School’s partnership with the Norton, Massachusetts, college.  As Brown/Wheaton Faculty Fellows, the doctoral students will exercise the teaching skills modeled and cultivated at the University while experiencing faculty life at a liberal arts college.

Score! Video Gamers May Learn Visual Tasks More Quickly

Many studies show that video gamers perform better than non-gamers on certain visual tasks, like managing distractors and identifying targets, but a small new Brown University study, led by Aaron Berard, doctoral student in Cognitive Science, provides gamers with some cognitive bonus points. The study results suggest that gaming not only improves their visual skill but also may improve their learning ability for those skills.

Ancient Martian Lake System Records Two Water-Related Events

Current and former graduate students at Brown, including PhD student Tim Goudge, combined images from NASA’s CTX instrument with mineralogical data from NASA’s CRISM orbiting spectrometer to create a geologic history of flowing water on the surface of Mars nearly 4 billion years ago. The new analysis is in Jezero Crater, near the planet’s equator. The study finds that the onslaught of water that filled the crater was one of at least two separate periods of water activity in the region surrounding Jezero.

A Better Method for Making Perovskite Solar Cells

Research led by Yuanyuan Zhou, a doctoral Engineering student at Brown, has revealed a new way to make light-absorbing perovskite films for use in solar cells. The new method involves a room-temperature solvent bath to create perovskite crystals, rather than the blast of heat used in current crystallization methods.

All DCP Award Requests Met in Updated Process

The Graduate School is pleased to announce that all 89 Dissertation Completion Proposal requests for 2015-16 have been met. This year, the Graduate School piloted a new process for these DCP plans from rising sixth-year students in the Humanities and Social Sciences. The collaboration of academic programs, the Office of the Provost, the Graduate School and Centers and Institutes made it possible to meet these requests. Students are receiving award letters, beginning March 17.

11 PhD Students Embark on ‘Open Graduate’ Journeys

For Mohak Patel, interest in the Graduate School’s Open Graduate Education program came quickly, amid his first year of studying Mechanics of Solids and Structures at Brown University. He opted to settle in and consider the opportunity – and the effort – entailed in pursuing a secondary Master’s degree through the distinctive program. “I had two questions to answer,” he says. “Am I willing to spend the extra time? And does this make sense for my research?”