The Walbridge Fund Graduate Award for Environmental Research is administered by the High Meadows Environmental Institute (HMEI) to provide research funding to Princeton University graduate students pursuing innovative research on climate science, energy solutions, environmental policy or, more broadly, on other environmental topics. Projects from a broad range of disciplines are eligible.

Princeton graduate students from any department can apply for one of HMEI’s graduate awards to receive support for research related to environmental topics. Pictured is 2016 Walbridge Graduate Award recipient Jennifer Kasbohm (Geosciences) on Steens Mountain in Oregon.


Application Information for 2021

Important Dates

Applications for 2021 are closed. Recipients are listed below with an announcement to be posted soon.

Funding Support

In the 2021-2022 academic year, awards up to $10,000 will be available for dissertation support. Funds may be used for a range of purposes, including fieldwork, travel, conference participation, equipment purchases, and costs associated with data analysis and facilities use. The funds cannot be used for tuition support or indirect costs. Awards are for one year and are nonrenewable.


To be eligible, applicants must be regular, full-time Ph.D. candidates (post generals) at Princeton University. Eligibility status is viewed as pertaining to the student’s status in the upcoming academic year. Students who are entering or are currently in DCE are not eligible to apply.

Application Materials

Applications should include the following. Incomplete applications will not be considered.

Award Selection

A committee of Princeton faculty will conduct a formal review and selection process, with conflicts of interest taken into account. The award(s) will be selected based on the quality of the proposed research, strength of faculty letters of recommendation, proven student accomplishments (peer-reviewed publications and awards), and financial need for independent research.


Award Recipients

Year Recipient Dept. Adviser(s) Ph.D. Thesis Title
2021 Maria Curria CEE Claire White Performance of Ca-based Layered Double Hydroxides as Sorbents for Low-Temperature Carbon Capture
2021 Ipsita Dey ANT Rena Lederman, João Biehl Investigating Indo-Fijian Spiritual Relationships with Sugarcane Landscapes: Hindu “Eco-Bhakti” Theologies in Practice
2021 Yuki Haba EEB Lindy McBride Predicting How Climate Change will Shift the Distribution of Disease-Vector Mosquitoes Using Population Genomic Data
2021 Shannon Hoffman CHE José Avalos Optogenetic Control of P. pastoris for Sustainable Production of Animal-Free Dairy and Meat
2021 Xiaohan Li CEE Ian Bourg Wettability of Black Carbon and Its Impact on Radiative Forcing: A Comparative Molecular Dynamics (MD) Simulation and Experimental Study
2021 Sayumi Miyano POL Helen Milner, Rebecca Perlman, Kosuke Imai (Harvard University) Politics of Energy and Climate Information by International Organizations
2021 Jose Montano Lopez CHE José Avalos Harnessing Microbial Evolution for High-Level Isobutanol Production in Saccharomyces cerevisiae
2021 Devan Nisson GEO Tullis Onstott Abiotic Organic Chemistry in an Ancient Hypersaline Brine: Evaluating Bioenergetic Support for Microbial Life Inhabiting 3.2km Deep Fracture Fluid in South Africa
2021 Don Noh ECO Motohiro Yogo, Wei Xiong Optimal Design of Markets for Renewable Energy Certificates (RECs)
2021 Michael Soskind ELE Gerard Wysocki High Power, Narrow Linewidth Laser Source for Fugitive Trace-Gas Sensing and Localization
2021 Einara Zahn CEE Elie Bou-Zeid Seeing the Trees for the Forest: Partitioning Ecosystem Fluxes into their Vegetation and Soil Contributions
2020 Danielle Chase MAE Howard Stone Fluid-Driven Fracturing in Porous Media
2020 Nicolas Choquette-Levy SPI Michael Oppenheimer, Simon Levin How Do Smallholder Farmers Form Perceptions About Climate and Livelihood Risks?
2020 Zachary Garvin GEO Tullis Onstott Cycling of Trace and Greenhouse Gases by Chemolithotrophic Communities Around Hot Springs in the Chilean High Andes
2020 Julie Tierney EEB Lars Hedin Understanding Ecosystem Function Through Plant Evolutionary Strategies in a Unique Neotropical Forest
2019 Hannah Bradley ANT Rena Lederman Managing Changing Landscapes in the “Last Frontier”
2019 Makoto Lalwani CBE José Avalos Dynamic Control of Microbial Consortia for Sustainable Chemical Production
2019 Katja Luxem GEO Xinning Zhang Stable-Isotopes Studies to Evaluate the Biogeochemical Role of Methane Production by Nitrogenase
2019 Ian Miller EEB C. Jessica Metcalf How Will Climate Change Drive Plant-Pathogen Evolution?
2019 Liana Wait EEB Andrea Graham, Andrew Dobson Risk of Parasitic Infection in Raccoons Across a Rural-Urban Gradient
2019 DJ Rasmussen SPI Michael Oppenheimer The Political Appraisal of Climate Adaptation “Megaprojects:” Has Environmental Protection Prevented Coastal Flood-Defense Infrastructure from Breaking Ground in New York City? *

* This project was funded by The Karl F. Schlaepfer ’49 and Gloria G. Schlaepfer Fund, which is awarded periodically to support graduate research and travel related to environmental studies.

2018 Kai Gong CEE Claire White Mechanisms of Sulfate-Induced Chemical Degradation in Sustainable Cements
2018 Sarah Hammer CBE José Avalos Metabolic Engineering of Yeast for the Production of Branched-Chain Higher Alcohols as Renewable Fuels
2018 Kalyani Jayasankar SOC Mitchell Duneier At the Water’s Edge: Coping with Climate Change in Mumbai and Miami
2018 Arjun Potter EEB Robert Pringle Plant Traits and Large Mammal Herbivory in a Seasonally Flooded Ecosystem
2018 Danielle Santiago Ramos GEO John Higgins Reverse Silicate Weathering and its Role in Maintaining Earth’s Habitable Climate: A Novel Stable Isotope Approach
2018 Danielle Schlesinger GEO Satish Myneni Organohalogen Production and Halomethane Emissions from Brazilian Mangroves and Their Impact on the Global Climate Model
2017 Yifeng Chen ELE Gerard Wysocki Remote Natural Gas Emission Detection Using Novel Balanced Heterodyne-Enhanced Chirped Laser Dispersion Spectroscopy
2017 Vinicius de Aguiar Furuie ANT João Biehl Assessing Climate Change Impact on an Amazonian River Economy
2017 Bryan Kudisch CHM Gregory Scholes Ultrafast Spectroscopy at 25 Tesla Disentagles Coherent Electron Transfer in P3HT:PCBM Nanoparticles
2017 Kaia Tombak EEB Daniel Rubenstein Parasite Exposure Dynamics and their Impacts on Zebra Populations in a Landscape with Changing Water Distribution
2017 Evan Zhao CBE José Avalos Optogenetic Regulation for Metabolic Engineering
2016 Cara Brook EEB Andrew Dobson Climate Change, Seasonal Resource Scarcity and Emerging Fruit Bat Zoonoses in Madagascar
2016 Victor Charpentier WWS Sigrid Adriaenssens Manufacturing support for “Adaptive Building Skin to Enhance Interior of Buildings”
2016 Jennifer Kasbohm GEO Blair Schoene Testing Climate Sensitivity to Atmospheric Carbon Dioxide: A Case Study from the Miocene
2016 Anna Trugman AOS David Medvigy Assessing Forest Growth, Resilience and Carbon Accumulation in the North American Boreal Forest: Integrating Remote Sensing and Field Measurements with Models
2016 Yuzhen Yan GEO Michael Bender Window into the World with 40,000-Year Glacial Cycles from Climate Records in Million Year-Old Ice from Blue Ice Areas in Antarctica
2015 Rachel Baker WWS Michael Oppenheimer Climate Change, Employment and Migration: What Can We Learn from Historic Climate Variations?
2015 Cleo Chou EEB Stephen Pacala and Lars Hedin Plant Allocation and Mechanisms of Tropical Forest Nutrient Limitation
2015 Qixing Ji GEO Bess Ward Nitrous Oxide Production in Marine Environments using Stable Isotope Approach
2015 Tim Treuer EEB David Wilcove Sequestering Carbon with Orange Peels and Birds: Patterns and Processes in the World’s Largest Tropical Forest Restoration Project
2014 Stephanie Debats CEE Kelly Caylor Understanding smallholder Agriculture in Sub-Saharan Africa Under Climate Change and Population Growth
2014 Phillip Hannam WWS Robert Socolow, Michael Oppenheimer, Robert Keohane “Race to the Bottom” in Global Energy Development? The Case of China’s Emergence in the Developing World
2014 Lisa McManus EEB Simon Levin Investigating the Effects of Climate Change on Larval Dispersal and the Persistence of Coral populations
2014 Igor Rubinov ANT João Biehl Unested Waters: Developing Climate Resilience in Tajkistan
2014 Eric Zhang ELE Gerard Wysocki Nitric Oxide Isotopic Ratiometery for Hitrogen Cycle Studies
2013 Michael Campanell PPL Igor Kaganovich Simulation of Plasma-Surface Interaction with Secondary Emissions in a Grazing Magnetic Field for Fusion Energy Applications
2013 Paul Elsen EEB David Wilcove Improving Climate-based Species Distribution Models by Incorporating Competition and Habitat Variables
2013 Molly Schumer EEB Peter Andolfatto An Investigation of the Role of Hybridization, Habitat Disruption, and Climate Change in the Survival of the Freshwater Fish, Xiphophorus malinche
2013 Travis Shaw CHM Andrew Bocarsly Sonoelectrochemical Reduction of Carbon Dioxide for the Direct Synthesis of Multi-Carbon Products
2012 Minghui Diao CEE Mark Zondlo Ice Supersaturation and Cirrus Cloud Formation by Global In-Situ Aircraft Observations and Relationships with Anthropogenic Emissions
2012 Kaiyu Guan CEE Eric Wood Scaling Up Plant Water Stress of an African Savanna Ecosystem Using Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) Based Sensing
2012 Annette Trierweiler EEB Lars Hedin The Response of Tropical Nitrogen-Fixing Trees to Phosphorus and Molybdenum Limitations, Nitrogen Deposition at Pre-Industrial, Present Day, and Elevated Carbon Dioxide (CO2) Levels
2011 Matthew Aardema EEB Peter Andolfatto The Influence of Climate on Patterns of Gene Flow between Ecologically Divergent Populations
2011 Josephine Anastasia Elia CBE Christodoulos Floudas Discovery and Operation of Hybrid Coal, Biomass, and Natural Gas to Liquid Energy Processes: Optimization Frameworks for Strategic Planning Under Uncertainty
2011 Matthis Paul Hain GEO Daniel Sigman Carbon Cycle Analysis
2010 Kevin Loutherback EE James Sturm Reducing the Cost of Biofuel Algae with High Throughput Microfluidic Separations
2010 Dalin Shi GEO François Morel Effect of Ocean Acidification on Iron Availability and Requirements in Marine Phytoplankton
2010 Ann Carla Staver EEB Simon Levin Temporal Dynamics of Savanna-Forest Transitions Along the Kalahari Transect
2009 Trenton Franz CEE Kelly Caylor Quantifying Soil Moisture Patterns at the Spatial Scale of Hillslopes in the Central Kenya Highlands