Christina Faust (Intel ISEF 2004, 2005) won three scholarships that took her around the world. Through the Morris K. Udall Scholarship she went to Antarctica to examine the effects of climate change and tourism on the continent, with the Truman Scholarship Summer Institute she did an internship in Washington, D.C. with the International Union for Conservation of Nature, and with the George J. Mitchell Scholarship she went to Ireland to earn her master’s degree in immunology and global health.
Her Truman Scholarship will also help fund her graduate work at Princeton where she recently started a Ph.D. in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology. She is currently trying to figure out why, in Southeast Asia, there are many human cases of monkey malaria for the first time. Christina thinks this is because the original hosts, monkeys, are losing their habitat to increased development. Changes in land use may be leading to increased contact rates or changes in behavior that are manifesting in an increase in disease in humans. In November, she will travel to Sarawak, Malaysia, on the island of Borneo to begin setting up field sites for her dissertation research.
Incidentally, this is not the first time she has been to Borneo, as she traveled there previously to research indigenous land rights of the Penan and Kelabit peoples.
Christina’s interest in science research began at an early age. “I started science fair in the fifth grade, with a sophisticated project of what was my friend’s rat’s favorite food,” she says laughing. Her freshman year of high school she earned a research fellowship that paired her with a local academic who was studying stream quality. “Science fair begot more science fair,” she says as, with that connection, she studied the impact of human development on fish and nutrients for her Intel ISEF project. She attended the fair twice and had a lot of fun. “I think I still have all of my pins,” she says of the tradition for Finalists to exchange pins representing where they are from.
Christina says that science fair was a great outlet for her and has helped her with her current success. “Actually, doing science fair was great practice writing papers,” she says, referring to the many scholarship applications she has written. The fairs are a “great foundation for scientific thinking,” she says, and she supports them by judging. “I think it’s really important to encourage kids to go out on a limb and investigate their own interests rather than just going to lectures and taking tests.”
This federal scholarship is awarded to 60 college students out of 600-700 students who are nominated by their universities. The award supplies $30,000 toward graduate education as well the opportunity for an internship in Washington DC, among other benefits.
Given by the US-Ireland Alliance, this scholarship pays for tuition, housing, airfare, and a stipend for a year of graduate study at any university in Ireland or Northern Ireland.
This program awards up to $5,000 to 80 students who have demonstrated a commitment to a career related to the environment, or are Native American or Alaska Natives with a commitment to career in tribal policy or Native health care.