Graduate Student Award Recipients

Graduate Student Award Recipients

in the garden

The Great Plains-CESU is pleased to provide an annual Graduate Student Award in recognition of the mission of the CESU system for training students and involving students in partnership research projects. Our award recognizes outstanding accomplishments by graduate students involved in Great Plains-CESU projects.

View Criteria

2021 Winner

Amy Cochran

Amy Cochran

On behalf of the entire Great Plains Cooperative Ecosystem Studies Unit Staff, it is our pleasure to award the 2021 Graduate Student Award to Amy Cochran. Amy was selected for the award because of her accomplishments on the project: “Conduct Visitor Use Study at Tallgrass Prairie National Preserve”. Her research project was funded through a Great Plains CESU funding agreement between Kansas State University and the National Park Service. Amy has clearly demonstrated the outstanding qualities we look for in our student recipients of this award, especially with her abilities demonstrated during the time of the pandemic. We are also grateful to Amy’s Adviser, Dr. Ryan Sharp for his continued support of the CESU and its’ student opportunities by nominating Ms. Cochran.

2020 Winners

Michael Brunson

Michael Brunson

It is with great pleasure we announce Michael Brunson as a co-recipient of the 2020 Great Plains CESU Graduate Student Award.

Michael was selected for the award because of his outstanding accomplishments on the project: Research to Inform Visitor Use Management Planning at Theodore Roosevelt National Park. His research project was funded through a Great Plains CESU funding agreement between NPS and Kansas State University. Michael clearly demonstrates the outstanding qualities we look for in our student recipients of this award. We are also grateful to Michael’s adviser, Dr. Ryan Sharp, for their nomination of Michael.


Gaimi Davies

Gaimi Davies

On behalf of the Great Plains CESU we announce as co-recipient of the 2020 Graduate Student Award, Gaimi Davies. Gaimi was selected for her research efforts and accomplishments on the project "Ancient insight for Current Bison Management." Her research project was funded through a Great Plains CESU funding agreement between NPS and the University of North Dakota. Gaimi has participated in a multi-disciplinary project that contributes to the conservation of America’s National Mammal, the American bison. The office of GP CESU is grateful to Ms. Davies’ advisor Dr. Igor Ovtchinnikov, for nominating Gaimi for this deserving award.

2019 Winner

Jonathan Knudsen

Jonathan Knudsen

On behalf of the entire Great Plains Cooperative Ecosystems Studies Unit Staff, it is our pleasure to award the 2019 Graduate Student Award to Jonathan Knudsen. Jonathan was selected for the award because of his accomplishments on the project: “Ant communities are influenced by burn severity after the Las Conchas Wildfire.” His research project was funded through a Great Plains CESU funding agreement between Texas Tech University and the National Park Service. Jonathan has clearly demonstrated the outstanding qualities we look for in our student recipients of this award.

We are also grateful to Jonathan’s graduate adviser,Dr. Robin Verble, for her nomination of Jonathan. We also received a generous statement of support from our agency partner, Dr Robert R. Parmenter, with the National Park Service.

2018 Winner

Ryan Sharp

Ryan Sharp

It is with great pleasure we announce the winner of the 2018 Great Plains-CESU Graduate Student Award to Mr. Ryan Sharp. Ryan was selected for the award because of his outstanding accomplishments on the project: Visitor Survey of Brown V. Board of Education National Historic Site. His research project was funded through a Great Plains-CESU funding agreement between Kansas State University and the National Park Service. Ryan clearly demonstrates the outstanding qualities we look for in our student recipients of this award.

2017 Winner

Andrew Taylor

Andrew Taylor

On behalf of the entire Great Plains Cooperative Ecosystems Studies Unit Staff, it is our pleasure to award the 2017 Graduate Student Award to Dr. Andrew Taylor. Andrew was selected for the award because of his accomplishments on the project: “Assess genetic integrity, population status, and long-term viability of isolated populations of shoal bass in Chattahoochee River National Recreation Area.” His research project was funded through a Great Plains CESU funding agreement between Oklahoma State University and the National Park Service. Andrew has clearly demonstrated the outstanding qualities we look for in our student recipients of this award.

We are also grateful to Andrew’s graduate adviser, Dr. James Long, for his nomination of Andrew. We also received a generous statement of support from our agency partner, William Cox, with the National Park Service.

Poster Presentation

2016 Winner

Jeremy Brunette

Jeremy Brunette

It is with great pleasure we announce the winner of the 2016 Great Plains-CESU Graduate Student Award to Mr. Jeremy Brunette. Jeremy was selected for the award because of his outstanding accomplishments on the project: Archaeological Inventory of the Platt National Park National Historic Landmark (Platt Historic District), Chickasaw National Recreation Area. His research project was funded through a Great Plains-CESU funding agreement between UNL and the National Park Service. Jeremy clearly demonstrates the outstanding qualities we look for in our student recipients of this award.

We are also grateful to Jeremy’s graduate adviser, Dr. Matthew Douglas, for his nomination. We also received a generous statement of support from NPS-MWAC agency partner, Dr. Dawn Bringelson.

Poster Presentation