Named Student Research Awards

Student Research Awards are presented annually to SICB graduate students to support their research. Students must apply for support either through the Grants-in-Aid of Research Program or the Fellowship for Graduate Student Travel Program. Applications are reviewed and awarded by the SICB Student Support Committee .  Previous award winners can be found here

Special Named Student Research Awards are given to the top applicants in this competition and memorialize individuals in SICB who have passed away. 

A named award is established through donations to the Student Research Fund and recognizes an individual. Some examples. Donations equaling $1,000 support one named award recognizing a single individual for one year. Donations of $5,000 support one named award for five years honoring an individual or five named awards in one year honoring one person. Donations of $20,000 or more support one named award each year honoring a single individual in perpetuity. New named awards must be approved and inquiries should be directed to the SICB Executive Director (

Named Awards and their Recipients are shown below.

Steven Vogel (1940-2015) is widely regarded as one of the founders of the field of comparative biomechanics. He is quoted as saying that this field “touches on everything from why ants can’t throw rocks to why a fish can outswim a duck.” Vogel studied biological fluid mechanics. Working at the intersection of biology, mathematics and physics, he investigated everything from the ventilation of prairie dog burrows, to the flows of seawater through marine sponges and air through moth antennae, to how trees and seaweed survive in high winds and crashing waves. He was a professor at Duke University for more than 40 years.

Recipients of the Steven Vogel Student Research Award (Award funded in perpetuity)

  • 2018 – Sarah Amonett, Univ. of Mississippi, GIAR
  • 2019 – Daniel Paluh, University of Florida, GIAR
  • 2020 – Sara Wang, Louisiana State University, GIAR
  • 2021 – Emily Webb, Arizona State University, GIAR
  • 2022 – Kiersten Formoso, University of Southern California, FGST
  • 2023 – Maya Powell, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, GIAR

Abbot S. “Toby” Gaunt (1936-2006) earned his bachelor’s degree at Amherst College and his Ph.D. at the University of Kansas; he did postdoctoral work at SUNY, Buffalo under Carl Gans. He was interested in studying vocalization in birds as well as avian flight muscles. He spent most of his career at The Ohio State University where he progressed through the ranks of assistant professor, associate professor, professor, and professor emeritus. He was a program officer and chair of the Division of Vertebrate Morphology in this Society.

Recipients of the Toby Gaunt Student Research Award (Award funded in perpetuity)

  • 2019 – Elizabeth George, Indiana University, GIAR
  • 2020 – Rachel Davis, College of William and Mary, FGST
  • 2021 – Victoria Farrar, University of California Davis, GIAR
  • 2022 – Eric Gulson-Castillo, University of Michigan, GIAR
  • 2023 – Rose Amrhein, University of Louisville, FGST

Rosemary Knapp (1962-2019) earned a bachelor’s degree at Rutgers University and a Ph.D. at Arizona State University; she did postdoctoral work at Cornell University and was a faculty member at the University of Oklahoma. She studied endocrine systems in lizards, fishes, and amphibians. She was a long-time member of SICB, serving two terms as Program Officer for the Division of Comparative Endocrinology.

Recipients of the Rosemary Knapp Student Research Award (Award funded 2020-2024)

  • 2020 – Alyssa Eby, University of Windsor, GIAR
  • 2021 – Laura Newman, New York University, GIAR
  • 2022 – Isaac VanDiest, Virginia Tech, GIAR
  • 2023 – Nicholas Shankey, Minnesota State University, Mankato, GIAR

Stephen A. Wainwright (1931-2019) was a long-time Duke University biologist who was an early founder of the field of biomechanics. He applied engineering principles to organismal design and he explored life through art and especially sculpture. He earned a bachelor’s degree from Duke and a Ph.D. from UC Berkeley. He was well-known for his passionate support of his many students. He was president of the Society (then ASZ) in 1988.

Recipients of the Stephen A. Wainwright Student Research Award (Award funded 2020-2024)

  • 2020 – Christopher Moore, East Carolina University, GIAR
  • 2021 – Thien-y Nguyen, University of California, Riverside, GIAR
  • 2022 – Erik Axlid, Minnesota State University, Mankato, GIAR
  • 2023 – Evan McKenzie, University of British Columbia, FGST

Alexander “Zander” Fodor (1988-2018) was a sixth year graduate student at the University of Washington, working with Professor Billie Swalla when he died unexpectedly in November, 2018. Zander’s Ph.D. thesis project was studying the molecular changes underlying the evolution of tailless ascidians and he made several important discoveries about the expression of pseudogenes in the tailless ascidian Molgula occulta. Zander spent most of his time working at Friday Harbor Laboratories and was a well-loved member of the community there. He attended 4 SICB meetings during his career.

Recipients of the Zander Fodor Student Research Award (Award funded 2020)

  • 2020 – Bradford Dimos, University of Texas, Arlington, GIAR

William R. Dawson (1927-2020) was an avian ecophysiologist who spent his academic career at the University of Michigan. He wrote his first paper, on fossil sparrows from the La Brea tar pits in 1947. He earned a master of arts in 1950 and his doctorate degree in 1953 from the University of California at Los Angeles, where he was the first Ph.D. student of George Bartholomew. He was president of the Society (then ASZ) in 1986.

Recipients of the William R. Dawson Student Research Award (Award funded 2020-2023)

  • 2021 – Victoria Farrar, University of California Davis, GIAR
  • 2021 – Joshua Manning, Florida State University, GIAR
  • 2022 – Pearl Rivers, Florida State University, GIAR
  • 2023 – Megan Barkdull, Cornell University, GIAR

John S. Pearse (1936-2020) was an authority on marine invertebrates and intertidal ecology. He spent his academic career at the University of California, Santa Cruz, where he was instrumental in establishing the marine science program. He earned his Ph.D. at Stanford University where he did some of the earliest marine biology research at Antarctica’s McMurdo Station. He was president of the Society in 2007 and 2008.

Recipients of the John S. Pearse Student Research Award (Award funded 2021-2025)

  • 2021 – Samuel Lane, Virgina Tech, GIAR
  • 2022 – Lisa Couper, Carnegie Institute for Science, GIAR
  • 2023 – Madison Emery, University of Texas, Arlington, GIAR
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