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About the Becker Fellowship

Catherine Z. Becker
M.S. Environmental Science and Policy, 1996

After a 21-year career as a U.S. Naval Officer, Cathy pursued a long-time desire to undertake environmental studies. She chose the M.S. in Environmental Science and Policy at George Mason University, and graduated in 1996. Mason prepared her for employment in the energy data field for the next 20 years.

She and her husband Richard sponsor the Becker Research Fellowship to promote the development of leaders and researchers who will tackle environmental problems and promote responsible stewardship of the earth and its magnificent resources.

Becker Fellows

This page is regularly updated as material is provided to the College from our Fellows.  Please click below to learn more about each of our Fellows. The Becker Fellowship began in FY 2018 and has provided critical support to master's and doctoral candidates in the Department of Environmental Science and Policy. 

Heather Davis (2017-18)

Steven Chan (2017-18)

Elizabeth Ashby (2017-18)

MS Concentration: Conservation Science and Policy

Thesis Title: Human behavioral risk factors for zoonotic disease transmission in Laikipia County, Kenya

Elizabeth (Liz) Ashby


Jonathan Clark (2018-19)

MS Concentration: Conservation Science and Policy Concentration

Thesis Title: Population Genetic Structure of Early-Stage Parapatric Ecological Speciation in the Atlantic Song Sparrow

Jonathan Clark

Jessamine Melton (2018-19)

Samantha Alexander (2019-20)

M.S. Concentration: Aquatic Ecology

Thesis Title: Assessment of Fish Passage Use and Success In Facilitating The Movement of Anadromous Fish Species In Potomac River Tributaries

Photo by Aileen Devlin | Virginia Sea Grant

Sammie Alexander

Monika Conrad (2019-20)

MS Concentration: Conservation Science & Policy

Thesis Title: Influence of environmental factors on red panda (Ailurus fulgens) welfare

Monika Conrad

Kim Louise Magalona (2020-21)

MS Concentration: Conservation Science and Policy

Thesis Title: The microbiome characterization of striped bass (Morone saxatilis) skin and tissue

Kim Magalona

Samantha Mohney (2020-21)

M.S. Concentration: Aquatic Ecology

Thesis Title: Benthic cyanobacteria abundance and production in the Tidal Potomac River

Samantha Mohney

Jacqueline Bucsa (2021-22)

MS Concentration: Conservation Science and Policy

Thesis Title: Prey selection by bottlenose dolphin (Tursiops truncatus) mother-calf pairs within the lower Chesapeake Bay and coastal Virginia as a method of meeting high energy demands

Jacqueline Bucsa

Sarah Greenberg (2021-22)

MS Concentration: Aquatic Ecology

Thesis Title: Does salinity influence the spatio-temporal distribution of two parasites (Loxothylacus panopaei & Cancrion sp.) of the white-fingered mud crab (Rhithropanopeus harrisii)?

Sarah Greenberg

Cecilia Barriga Bahamonde (2022-23)

PhD Science Track:

Dissertation Title: Conflicting ecosystem services and frugivorous mammals in the Peruvian Amazon

Cecilia Barriga Bahamonde

Alexander Mott (2022-23)

PhD Science Track

Dissertation Title: The facilitation of the invasive alga Gracilaria vermiculophylla by a native decorator worm (Diopatra cuprea) in mid-Atlantic estuaries of the United States.

Alexander Mott

Darby Pochtar (2022-23)

PhD Science Track

Dissertation Title:  Invasion history of parasitic castrators influences an estuarine crab host’s demographics, physiology, and behaviors


Hannah Wood (2022-23)

MS Concentration: Conservation Science and Policy

Thesis Title: Mammal reactions to novel objects in their environment

Hannah Wood


Montana Collins (2023-24)

PhD Science Track

Dissertation Title: Restoring Palo Santo, the Holy Wood of the Tropical Dry Forest 


Serenity Montano (2023-24)

PhD Science Track

Dissertation Title: Animal, Vegetable, or Mineral: Finding the secrets to restoration ecology in the working landscapes of Madagascar's Mangoky River Watershed Basin

Serenity Montano