Launching a research career is challenging. It demands years of higher education, voracious curiosity, and the skills to obtain and manage research funding.
The NRS’s Mildred E. Mathias Graduate Student Research Grant Program gives University of California graduate students an edge by helping to support their research at NRS reserves. Up to $38,000 is awarded each year in grants of up to $3000. Since the program’s inception in 1988, more than 480 UC students have received over $900,000 in Mathias Grant funding.
Students who receive awards gain experience submitting research proposals, writing progress reports, and managing a research budget. While Mathias Grant awards are modest, their benefits to recipients reverberate across careers. The grants themselves frequently serve as seed funding for student research. A record of success obtaining a Mathias Grant helps researchers attract additional support from other funding organizations.
Mathias Grant recipients join a select group invited to present their findings at the Mathias Graduate Student Research Grant Symposium held every three years. The symposium enables students to discuss their work with peers, meet future colleagues, and gain career advice from professional scientists.
While working at reserves, Mathias Grant recipients join a community with deep knowledge of the landscape. Reserve managers and stewards know where and when organisms can be found, how to safely deploy equipment, and improve the chances of project success in myriad ways. At reserves, students are also likely to encounter other scientists who may provide insights, assistance, and connections to others in their field of expertise.
Mathias Grants encourage students to establish independent research projects at the NRS, expanding the body of research about reserves. By deepening our knowledge of state landscapes, Mathias Grants benefit California in myriad ways.
The program commemorates UC Los Angeles botanist and professor Mildred E. Mathias. A conservationist and expert in tropical medicinal plants, Professor Mathias led the President’s NRS Universitywide Advisory Committee body for 22 years.