Students awarded 2021 Cristina Menendez Memorial Fellowship

Thirteen students across FIU’s College of Arts, Sciences & Education have been awarded the Institute of Environment’s 2021 Cristina Menendez Memorial Fellowship.

The fellowship was created in memory of former student Cristina Menendez to provide graduate students with support for Everglades-related research projects that will help to protect and restore the unique Florida Everglades ecosystem.

Of the 13 students to receive the award, five are in the Department of Earth and Environment, four are in the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry and three are in the Department of Biological Sciences. Many of the students are also involved in the university’s Florida Coastal Everglades Long Term Ecological program and CREST Center for Aquatic Chemistry and Environment.

This year, recipients were awarded a total of $63,600 in funding, with an average support of $5,000 per student, to go towards a project dedicated to Everglades research.

This year’s recipients are:

  • Kenneth Anderson – “Breakdown and microbial priming of particulate organic matter in coastal wetlands”
    • Faculty mentor: John Kominoski
  • Cody Eggenberger – “Southeast United States Cross-Site Comparison of Juvenile Atlantic Tarpon Trophic Dynamics”
    • Faculty mentor: Jennifer Rehage
  • Paige Kleindl – “Macrophyte and Microbial Mat Competition for Limiting Nutrients within the Florida Everglades”
    • Faculty mentor: Evelyn Gaiser
  • Steven Landeweer – “Occurrence, fate and transport of UV filter compounds in the Greater Everglades Ecosystem”
    • Faculty mentor: Piero Gardinali
  • Xuerong Li – “Assessment of the occurrence and distribution of poly- and perfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) in surface waters from Everglades”
    • Faculty mentor: Natalia Soares-Quinete
  •  Joshua Linenfelser – “Monitoring water quality using stable isotope biochemistry in the estuarine zone where Taylor Slough meets with the Florida Bay environment: Algal communities”
    • Faculty mentor: Jennifer Rehage
  • Brian Ng – “Non-target Analysis Using High Resolution Mass Spectrometry to Characterize and Remediate Urban Waters: From the Everglades to Biscayne Bay”
    • Faculty mentor: Piero Gardinali
  • Ikechukwu Onwuka – “Minimizing phosphorous loads from increased freshwater deliveries to the Everglades”
    • Faculty mentor: Len Scinto
  • Jonathan Rodemann – “Effects of shifting seascapes, salinity gradients, and hypersalinity on the movement and habitat use of Spotted Seatrout (Cynoscion nebulosus) in Florida Bay”
    • Faculty mentor: Jennifer Rehage
  • Thomas Shannon – “Responses of Benthic Diatom Assemblages following Simulated Saltwater and Phosphorus Groundwater Intrusions, in Southeastern FL Everglades”
    • Faculty mentor: Evelyn Gaiser
  • Katie Stansbury – “drivers of extracellular polysaccharide production by a mat-forming diatom”
    • Faculty mentor: Evelyn Gaiser
  • Kassidy Troxell – “Detecting and Identifying Water Contaminants Unique to Specific Sources in the Environment: assessing provenance”
    • Faculty mentor: Piero Gardinali
  • Rosario Vidales – “Red mangrove (Rhizophora mangle L.) leaf nitrogen, phosphorus and secondary metabolites in face of nutrient inputs and salinity influence during early stages of Everglades rehydration projects”
    • Faculty mentor: Michael Ross

For more information about the Cristina Menendez Memorial Fellowship, please click here.