Former USU Science Valedictorian Porter Ellis Named 2024 NSF Graduate Analysis Fellow

Utah Point out College alum Porter Ellis, who was USU’s 2022 School of Science valedictorian, was named a 2024 National Science Basis Graduate Research Fellow. A doctoral college student in the Section of Biochemistry at Duke University, Ellis is amid some 2,000 college students selected from more than 15,000 applicants nationwide.

“I am thrilled to have been picked to receive this fellowship,” suggests Ellis, a native of Farr West, Utah, who graduated as salutatorian from Fremont Higher College in 2018 and entered USU on a Presidential Scholarship. “I am extremely grateful for my mentors who supported me in making use of for the award, like Dr. Maria Schumacher, my current adviser at Duke, and Dr. Nicholas Dickenson, who was my undergraduate exploration mentor at Utah Point out.”

The prestigious fellowship plan provides up to 3 yrs of help for just about every awardee’s graduate education and learning, like a $37,000 annual stipend, alongside with a annually $16,000 expense-of-schooling allowance for tuition and charges.

Ellis studies nucleoid affiliated proteins — referred to as NAPs — which help the compaction and corporation of genomic DNA in bacteria.

“Emerging proof highlights the importance of NAPs in essential biological procedures, including gene regulation, virulence and pressure responses,” he states. “I’m doing work to recognize the mechanisms by which many NAPs interact with DNA and functionality in regulatory procedures.”

All through his undergrad profession, Ellis gained a USU Undergraduate Exploration and Resourceful Chances (URCO) grant, which supported his investigation in Dickenson’s lab in the Division of Chemistry and Biochemistry on the YscN homolog from the bacterium Yersinia pestis.

Yersinia pestis is the causative agent of bubonic plague in people, and YScN is essential to its virulence,” Ellis claims. “Working on that venture was my to start with publicity to biochemical exploration and structural biology. Dr. Dickenson is an incredible adviser with an founded history of aid for undergrad research, and I am extremely lucky to have been a beneficiary of his mentorship.”

In addition to exploration, Ellis honed his instructing skills at Utah Point out. He was an Undergraduate Training Fellow and supplemental teacher for 8 classes above 3 of his undergraduate many years. His fantastic endeavours led to his designation as the School of Science’s 2021 Undergraduate Teaching Fellow of the Calendar year.

Ellis’s instructing service took on a feeling of urgency through the pandemic, as Utah Point out moved to distant understanding in 2020, and continued as Aggies cautiously returned to in-particular person understanding the next yr.

“I was a workforce guide in Utah State’s Supplemental Instructors plan, which provided teaching and directing other supplemental instructors,” he suggests. “During that time, I also represented the SI application as a delegate for a regional student affairs meeting, wherever I realized how to greater help USU’s pupils.”

When educating a wide variety of formidable chemistry and biochemistry study course product, Ellis listened to student worries, encouraged pupils to comply with COVID-19 security protocols, and designed abilities in retaining a constructive classroom ecosystem through a tense and complicated scenario.

“At USU, I identified my like for instructing and established my dedication to STEM schooling,” he claims. “USU’s Supplemental Instruction and Undergraduate Training Fellow courses presented outstanding assets and amazing opportunities to achieve encounter in front of a classroom. Educating was among the most satisfying routines of my undergrad occupation.”

Ellis has served as a training assistant for Duke’s structural biochemistry sequence, and he’s pursuing Duke’s Graduate Certification in School Educating, which is a official avenue of pedagogical instruction and STEM outreach.

“My encounters at Utah Point out, particularly in undergrad exploration, training and classroom support actions, inspired me to go after graduate education and learning and have been immensely valuable to me in my changeover to graduate university,” he states.

USU scholars obtaining honorable mention in the 2024 NSF Graduate Research Fellow lookup ended up alum Kenen Goodwin and graduate college students Elizabeth Siemion and Neville Taraporevala.

Goodwin, who done undergrad exploration in USU Biology and Ecology Centre school mentor Zach Gompert’s lab and graduated from Utah State as the Quinney Faculty of Natural Means Valedictorian in 2020, is pursuing doctoral studies at Oregon State College.

Siemion and Traporevala are master’s college students in USU’s Department of Wildland Means and the USU Ecology Middle.

Siemion’s research focuses on comprehension the room use of mule deer in California’s Owens Valley, and how it corresponds to mountain lion use and predation depth. Her faculty mentor is Kezia Manlove.

Taraporevala conducts investigate with school mentor Julie Young and serves as a departmental consultant for USU’s Graduate College student Council.

The NSF Graduate Research Fellowship method allows to be certain the vitality of the human source foundation of science and engineering in the United States and reinforces its range, according to the NSF website. The method recognizes and supports outstanding graduate students in NSF-supported science, technologies, engineering and mathematics disciplines, who are pursuing research-based master’s and doctoral degrees at accredited United States establishments.