Spotlight on Linnea Honeker - NSF Fellow

Sept. 3, 2014
Photo of Linnea Honeker

My name is Linnea Honeker. I am a Graduate Editor and I am working toward my Ph.D. in Environmental Science with a Microbiology Minor in the Department of Soil, Water, and Environmental Sciences. I was awarded the NSF GRF in 2013.

My research focuses on root-associated microbial communities of plants used for the revegetation of mine tailings. Our field site is located next to the town of Dewey-Humboldt, AZ and has high levels of arsenic and lead, which poses a significant threat to the environment and members of the community. Revegetation of mine tailings can help to immobilize the metals in the root zone; a form of phytostabilization. I am interested in the role of the root-associated microbial communities in plant health and metal immobilization. Additionally, I am interested in community outreach efforts to educate the citizens of Dewey-Humboldt of the potential dangers of the mine tailings.

During my fellowship application process, one of the challenges I encountered was deciding how to organize and format my research proposal. I wasn’t quite sure what the judges would be looking for. To overcome this challenge, I attended some of the writing workshops put on by the Graduate College as part of the Application Support they have for the NSF GRF Program. It helped immensely because I was able to hear from current NSF fellows and how they constructed their proposals. I took their advice and it paid off.  Therefore, I strongly encourage applicants to sign up for the Graduate Colleges Application Support for the NSF GRF Program.

Everyone that is eligible to receive the NSF fellowship should apply. The benefits are numerous! Regardless whether or not you win this prestigious award, it is an excellent chance to practice applying for grants and writing research proposals. Also, it helps to hone your writing skills as well as aid in refining your research plan and goals.  It is a win-win opportunity. 

Good luck! Feel free to email me if you have any further questions for me.