EEB Doctoral Student Nankabirwa Receives Africa Fund Fellowship

Doctoral students Rafid Bendimerad and Angela Nankabirwa have been selected to receive 2022 Africa Fund Fellowships.

The Africa Fund Fellowship provides one or two semesters of a stipend, full tuition, and Cornell individual student health insurance to doctoral applicants who are citizens of an African country and not permanent residents of the U.S.

“I am really honored and grateful to be awarded the Africa Fund Fellowship,” said Bendimerad, a doctoral student in aerospace engineering. “This represents a recognition by the Graduate School of all the efforts that I have been making since the beginning of my Ph.D. program and will certainly encourage me to make more.”

With the fellowship’s backing, Bendimerad aims to apply machine learning techniques in numerical simulations to explore new areas related to his research into high-efficiency electric propulsion systems for small satellites.

Nankabirwa, a doctoral student in ecology and evolutionary biology, will be supported in her efforts to collect and analyze harmful algal bloom samples taken from Africa’s Lake Victoria this summer. Through experiments with the samples, she hopes to work toward a solution for the negative impact toxins have on safe drinking water and fisheries.

“It is an honor to know that people training me recognize the importance of my research interests,” Nankabirwa said. “The fund will allow me a chance to investigate and answer research questions that are pertinent to aquatic ecosystem health. Knowing that I have this support empowers me to work even harder.”

The Africa Fund Fellowship is one of several that the Graduate School administers each year for continuing students. Other awards include Provost Diversity Fellowships for Advanced Doctoral Students and the Hsien and Daisy Yen Wu Scholarships.

“Ensuring our graduate students are supported in every step of their journeys, from matriculation to graduation, is very important to us,” said Holly Boulia, director of fellowships. “The Africa Fund Fellowships are one of many ways we work to achieve this goal.”

This article originally appeared on the Cornell University Graduate School website.

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Angela taking measurements of fish weight at Winam Gulf, Lake Victoria. Photocredit_Winnie Owoko, KMFRI Kenya