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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 Utah State University students to do air quality research with scientists at the Bingham Research Center. Utah’s Uintah Basin is one of only two areas in the world known to experience ozone exceeding U.S. EPA standards during winter. A combination of mountain topography, snow cover and low wintertime winds cause strong thermal inversions, trapping pollutant emissions.

Help us resolve this air quality problem by applying for this unique opportunity.

Application Dates

Applications Open January 29th, 2018
Applications Close March 16th, 2018

Applicants who are not current USU students must also apply to an academic program or department

Frequently Asked Questions

  • Any current or incoming Utah State University student from any academic department may apply.
  • The fellowship is open to undergraduate, master’s, and doctorate students, and can fund research projects spanning multiple years (for example, a master’s student’s thesis). Undergraduate applicants must be entering their junior or senior year in fall 2018.
  • We encourage current and former Uintah Basin residents, as well as USU-Uintah Basin students, to apply.

We will accept applications Monday, January 29th through Friday, March 2nd.

All applicants will be informed by Friday, April 13th. Successful applicant(s) will begin the fellowship at the start of the fall 2018 semester.

Fellowship recipients will work on projects improving understanding of and finding 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 working on, we will consider it.

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

  • 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 even 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.

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 upcoming projects.

The research will be done in the Uintah Basin and based at the USU-Uintah Basin Vernal campus. Undergraduates based at the Logan campus may relocate to Vernal for the Summer or for a semester of research for credit. A master’s or doctorate student may finish classes in Logan before doing the research phase in Vernal.

The fellowship can provide funding for two, part-time undergraduates, or one master’s or doctorate 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 through the end of their senior year and graduate students through the timely completion of their degree.

We anticipate not accepting applications every year, and the timing and frequency of calls for applications will vary. We prefer to provide fellowship recipients with a multi-year research opportunity, allowing them to learn more from the experience and contribute more to understanding air quality problems in the Uintah Basin.

Selection of fellowship recipients will be based on two main criteria and one secondary criterion:

  1. Experience relevant to air quality research. This may include coursework, laboratory work, or occupational experience. Because applicants are students, prior air quality research experience may be unlikely. However, relevant experience might include science, mathematics, or statistics classes, or coding and industrial experience.
  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 and pursuing a career that relates to air quality research, the applicant's demonstration of work ethic, etc.
  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 may also 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 with the finalist how long the fellowship will last, what it will pay for, what kind of research it will entail, and any other matters or relevance.

For undergraduate students, the fellowship will pay an hourly wage for time spent on research activities. For master’s and doctorate students, the fellowship will pay for a research stipend and can also pay for tuition and fees.

We encourage all interested students, whether they are current or potential USU students, to apply. The fellowship is open to all students regardless of state or national origin. Recipients must be enrolled as USU students starting in Fall 2018 in order to receive the fellowship, however. We encourage students to look now at and plan for application deadlines for the department and program they are interested in. Note that some departments have application deadlines as early as January.

Fellowship recipients need not be enrolled as students at the USU-Uintah Basin Campus, but they can expect to spend a portion of their time there conducting research.

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