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Taking on interesting topics in far-flung locales

Top graduate students gear up for fellowships in various corners of the world

Eleven PhD recipients of this year’s Research Enhancement Fellowship, announced by the USC Graduate School, have been selected from a pool of candidates representing some of the top graduate student research on campus.

The fellowship recognizes outstanding PhD students whose research requires work in complex or distant settings and expertise in “less commonly taught” languages. Past recipients conducted research in Peru, Thailand and Uganda, among other distant locations.

Criteria for the fellowship include the quality and research potential of the student, as well as the likelihood that additional resources will notably affect their academic careers. The fellowship provides one year of funding and up to $5,000 in research, travel or training funds.

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Awardees will conduct research in Borneo, China, Japan, India and Latin America.

This year’s awardees are off to conduct research in Borneo, China, Japan, India and a number of countries in Latin America. Kayla Dang, a PhD candidate in the classics department at the USC Dornsife College of Letters, Arts and Sciences, will spend a year studying Avestan, the ancient language of Iran and Zoroastrianism at the University of London’s School of African and Oriental Studies.

Yasuhito Abe of the USC Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism, will study the contributions of DIY communication networks after the nuclear disaster in Fukushima, Japan. Kun Yue, from the electrical engineering department at the USC Viterbi School of Engineering, has developed an ambitious plan to combine the study of electrical computer engineering, nanomaterial, neuroscience, neuro-engineering and pharmacology that will enable him to build a mathematical model for neurological disorders.

Other fellows include Megan Carroll (sociology), James Askew (integrative and evolutionary biology), Di Luo (East Asian languages and cultures), Peter Guekguezian (linguistics), Chinmayi Sirsi (English), Sophia Azeb (American studies and ethnicity), and Ali Kulez and Lacey Schauwecker (comparative literature).

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