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Allison Tracy grad, a sixth-year Ph.D. student studying disease in corals, was named a finalist for the prestigious Schmidt Science Fellowship.

April 9, 2019

Rhodes Partner Names Cornell Graduate Student Finalist for Schmidt Science Program

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Though she ultimately was not selected, Allison Tracy grad was named a finalist for the prestigious Schmidt Science Fellowship, a program that partners with the Rhodes Trust — which also administers and awards the famed Rhodes Scholarship — on Friday.

The fellowship, which awards recipients a $100,000 research stipend, is part of a broader $100 million effort to promote scientific leadership and interdisciplinary research over the next decade and beyond, according to the program website. The fellowship places students into top labs around the world.

Tracy made it through multiple rounds of the selection process, but was not one of the 20 fellows selected in the announcement made on Monday.

Tracy is a sixth-year Ph.D. student in the ecology and evolutionary biology department studying disease in corals, and is expected to defend her thesis in June. Tracy graduated from Princeton University in 2010 with a B.S. in ecology and evolutionary biology, where she wrote her honors thesis on research she did on cattle disease while studying in Kenya.

At Cornell, Tracy works in the Harvell Lab, headed by Prof. Drew Harvell, ecology and evolutionary biology.

Originally from the town of Dover, Mass., Tracy said she grew up on the ocean and couldn’t pass up any opportunity to return to studying marine ecosystems. She was also drawn to corals because of their sedentary state.

“I looked at graduate programs studying a lot of different animals, like monarch butterflies and frogs, but what I liked about corals was that when you went out to study them you could always find them because they didn’t move,” Tracy said.

Tracy’s journey with the Schmidt Science Fellows program began in June 2018 when she applied through Cornell. In August, she learned she would be Cornell’s nominee, and she had an interview via Skype in February of 2019. This past Sunday, she had her final interview, and final results were released on Monday.

In the future, Tracy said she wants to be a professor of wildlife disease management, while also maintaining the applied aspect of her work by conducting research.