If the Millersville University (MU) Science department were a professional sports league, it would be safe to say that graduating senior, Jennifer Houtz would be selected for its all-star team. A year after receiving the prestige of being name a Goldwater Scholar, Houtz has been awarded a National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship, following a national competition.
Graduating May 12 with a bachelor’s degree in biology with a concentration in animal behavior and a minor in chemistry, Houtz, a first-generation college student, has managed to amass an impressive amount of accomplishments during her time at MU. These include three trips to the Ecuadorian Amazon for research, 10 academic scholarships, 12 research grants, serving as vice president of the biology club and president of the Circle K Club to name a few.
The National Science Foundation’s Graduate Research Fellowship provides three years of financial support within a five-year fellowship period, a $34,000 annual stipend and $12,000 cost-of-education allowance to the graduate institution. That support is for graduate study that leads to a research-based master’s or doctoral degree in a Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) field.
Houtz graduated from Millersville summa cum laude, the highest honor given, with a GPA between 3.95 and 4.0. In addition, she received departmental honors for her thesis, “Optimization of a Direct PCR Protocol for the High-Throughput Molecular Sexing of Birds from Whole Blood: an Application for Avian Field Studies.”
Houtz was accepted to Cornell University’s ecology and evolution and biology Ph.D. program, and she will be attending the Ivy League university after graduation.
She’s originally from Mifflintown, Pa.