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Two doctoral candidates receive prestigious Sarachek award

Monday, May 9, 2016


MANHATTAN — Two Kansas State University doctoral candidates are receiving Sarachek awards for their academic and research achievements.

Courtney Passow, doctoral candidate in biology, Round Rock, Texas, was awarded the $17,000 Alvin and RosaLee Sarachek Predoctoral Honors Fellowship in Molecular Biology. Awarded the $1,000 Sarachek Scientific Travel Award was Kerri Neugebauer, doctoral candidate in plant pathology, Grandview, Missouri.

Alvin and RosaLee Sarachek, Wichita, established the fellowship and travel awards to recognize resident graduate students enrolled in a doctoral program at Kansas State University and who have demonstrated exceptional research and scholastic accomplishments. An interdisciplinary faculty selection committee determines the fellowship and award recipients. The awards program is offered through the university's Graduate School.

Passow received her bachelor's degree from Texas A&M University. She will receive her doctorate in summer 2016. Passow's research focuses on determining the underlying genetic and physiological mechanisms of adaptation to extreme environments. Michi Tobler, assistant professor of biology, is Passow's major professor.

Passow will use the fellowship to relocate to St. Paul, Minnesota, where she plans to pursue a postdoctoral position at the University of Minnesota. Shewill primarily be working with blind Mexican cavefish, Astyanax mexicanus, investigating how organisms adapt to nutrient- and light-poor cave environments.

Neugebauer plans to use the funds to attend the American Phytopathological Society annual meeting in Tampa, Florida. Attending this meeting are thousands of scientists devoted to studying plant diseases and ways to manage them. Her research provides valuable information about leaf rust and wheat interaction, and could help lead to a long-term solution to leaf rust for wheat producers worldwide. Her major professor is Harold Trick, professor of plant pathology.

Neugebauer received her bachelor's degree in agronomy plant science and biotechnology from Kansas State University.

Alvin Sarachek received his doctorate in genetics from K-State in 1957. He and his wife, RosaLee Sarachek, created the fellowship and travel awards because he values the university's tradition of offering a broad array of quality programs in the life sciences, many with outstanding national reputations. The Saracheks wanted to contribute to the tradition of excellence by recognizing students who have demonstrated exceptional research accomplishments involving molecular approaches to biological problems.

More information on the Sarachek awards is available at k-state.edu/grad/financing/sarachek/.


Sarachek awards

News tip

Wichita, Kansas; Grandview, Missouri; and Round Rock, Texas


Download the following photo.


Courtney Passow has received the $17,000 Alvin and RosaLee Sarachek Predoctoral Honors Fellowship in Molecular Biology.

Download the following photo.


Kerri Neugebauer has received the $1,000 Sarachek Scientific Travel Award.

Written by

Kelsey Peterson