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Anadarko Air Quality Research Fellowship


The Anadarko Air Quality Research Fellowship is a result of a generous endowment from Anadarko Petroleum Corporation. It funds students to conduct air quality research with scientists at the Bingham Research Center in Utah's Uintah Basin, one of only two areas in the world known to experience ozone exceeding U.S. EPA standards during winter. Fellowship recipients may delve into topics as diverse as measuring atmospheric conditions, analyzing the impacts oil and gas industry operations, developing and testing new drone technology, improving computer simulations of the atmosphere, or analyzing samples in the laboratory.

Help us advance science and improve air quality by applying for this unique opportunity.

Application Information

We are not accepting applications at this time.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • Any current or prospective Utah State University student from any academic department may apply.  Students of any background or origin are welcome, including international students, students at any USU campus, etc.  
  • The fellowship is open to undergraduate, master’s, and doctoral students and can fund research projects spanning multiple years (for example, a master’s student’s thesis). High school seniors planning to attend USU may also apply.
  • Applicants may apply to become USU students after applying for the fellowship.
  • Fellowship recipients may begin classes at USU at any time, including the Spring, Summer, or Fall 2019 semesters, and the start of the fellowship doesn't necessarily have to coincide with the start of recepients' classes. 

We will accept applications from 24 September 2018 through 1 November 2018.

All applicants will be informed by 20 November about whether or not they will be invited for an interview. Fellowship recipients may begin at any time, depending on academic program requirements and personal needs.

Fellowship recipients will work on projects to improve understanding of and find solutions for the Uintah Basin’s air quality problems. The nature of the research will depend on the recipient’s interests and our current research interests and needs. If an applicant has an idea we are not currently working on, we will be glad to consider it.

The application includes questions about the applicants’ research interests. We encourage applicants to contact scientists at the Bingham Research Center during the application process to find out more about current areas of research. These include:

  • Atmospheric measurements, including measurements of meteorological parameters and pollutant concentrations at sites around the Uintah Basin. You can see data from some of our sites at our real-time air quality data website. To find out more about field measurements we collect, contact Seth Lyman. To learn more about how we are using our measurement data to understand and predict air quality, contact Marc Mansfield.
  • Emissions characterization, including field measurements of what is emitted to the atmosphere from various kinds of oil and gas equipment, natural surfaces, etc., as well as computational analyses and development of inventories for air quality simulations. If you are interested in field measurements and analysis of emissions, contact Seth Lyman or Marc Mansfield. If you'd like to learn more about how we develop and evaluate emissions inventories, including using them to simulate air quality in computer models, contact Huy Tran.
  • Air quality modeling, which involves the use of supercomputers to create detailed simulations of the complex meteorology and chemistry that lead to air pollution in the Uintah Basin. Our modeling team are experts in computer science, coding, as well as atmospheric sciences. Trang Tran is the one to contact regarding meteorological simulations, or contact either Trang Tran or Huy Tran about the chemical aspects of air quality modeling.

If you need a brief overview of the wintertime ozone issue, see this fact sheet.  For detailed and specific information about the nature of the research we conduct, please visit our papers and reports page. Also, Chapter 17 of our most recent annual report provides brief information about many current and upcoming projects.  

Our research program is based at USU's Vernal campus. Undergraduates based at the Logan campus or other USU campuses may relocate to Vernal for the summer or for a semester of research for credit. Master’s or doctoral students may finish classes in Logan before relocating to Vernal to focus on thesis or dissertation research.  Other arrangements are possible, including, performing a portion of a research project in Logan.  

The fellowship can provide funding for up to two part-time undergraduates or one master’s or doctoral student at a time.

The duration will vary depending on the type of student (undergraduate or graduate) and the student’s needs. We expect to fund undergraduates for more than one year (and perhaps for the entire duration of their undergraduate studies) and graduate students through the timely completion of their degree.

We don't expect to accept applications every year, and the timing and frequency of calls for applications will vary. We prefer to provide fellowship recipients with multi-year research opportunities, allowing them to learn more from the experience and contribute more to understanding air quality problems in the Uintah Basin.  Thus, new fellowships will be offered when previous fellowship receipients have completed their studies.

Selection of fellowship recipients will be based on three critieria:

  1. Experience relevant to air quality research. This may include coursework, laboratory work, or occupational experience. We understand that prior air quality research experience is unlikely. However, relevant experience might include science, mathematics, or statistics classes, or coding and industrial experience.  Any kind of work experience, if the applicant demonstrates a strong work ethic and enthusiastic references, is valuable.
  2. Academic promise and commitment. GPA, especially in science or math courses, are important for this criterion, but so are the applicant's interest in exceling in the sciences, pursuing a career that relates to or benefits from the research they carry out, the applicant's demonstration of academic commitment, etc.  We don't expect that fellowship recipients will all pursue careers in atmospheric sciences, but we do expect that applicants will be able to show how they will use the experience gained from the fellowship as a stepping stone on a successful career path.
  3. If two students of equal excellence apply, and one of those two is a current or former resident of the Uintah Basin, we may give preference to the Uintah Basin student. We encourage all students, regardless of origin, to apply. Criteria 1 and 2 will be given more weight than criterion 3.

A selection committee, comprised of Bingham Center scientists and others within USU, will review applications and rank them according to a pre-established rubric. The committee will select two or more finalists for phone interviews and/or may elect to invite finalists for in-person interviews. The fellowship is designed to be flexible and may include different arrangements for different recipients. Prior to making an offer to a finalist, the committee will discuss and decide with the finalist how long the fellowship will last, what it will pay for, how funds will be administered, what kind of research it will entail, and any other matters or relevance.  If the applicant is not a current USU student, this discussion will include establishing a path to become one.

For undergraduate students, the fellowship will pay an hourly wage (somewhere around $14 per hour, depending on the recipient's qualifications and experience). For graduate students, the fellowship will pay for a research assistantship and can also pay for tuition and fees.

We encourage all current and potential USU students to apply. Recipients must become USU students in order to receive the fellowship.  It may be possible to begin the fellowship before the recipient's classes begin. We encourage applicants who are not current USU students to look now at and plan for application deadlines for the department and program they are interested in. The fellowship is flexible and can accommodate students beginning classes at any time in 2018 or 2019, or perhaps beyond that.

Fellowship recipients need not be students at the USU-Uintah Basin Campus, but Logan students should expect to spend a portion of their time in the Uintah Basin conducting research.

If you have more questions, contact us! We would be glad to help you.


Fellowship Recipients

Makenzie Holmes

MakenzieMajor: Biology, B.S.
Research focus: Measurement of organic compounds (alcohols, hydrocarbons, carbonyls) in the atmosphere to improve understanding of ozone-forming emissions.  Emphasis on gas chromatography, liquid chromatography and mass spectrometry.
Period of award: May 2018-present

Tyler Elgiar

Major: Wildlife Ecology and Management, B.S.

Research focus: Drone deployments to characterize vertical inversion structure and field meausurements of ozone and organic compounds.
Period of award: December 2018-present