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Graduate students at Berkeley are fearless adventurers, pushing the boundaries of what we know about our world.

Read below to learn what sparks the imaginations of our talented students and inspires their groundbreaking research, and how critical fellowship funding propels their success.

Want to hear their stories in their own words? Enjoy the latest winning videos from our Distinguished Fellows Video Contest where students describe how vital fellowship support is helping chart new paths in graduate research at Berkeley.


Untangling The Mystery Of Why Shoelaces Come Untied

Professor Oliver O’Reilly and two graduate students, Christine Gregg and Chris Daily-Diamond, have published a paper, in Proceedings Of The Royal Society A, titled “The roles of impact and inertia in the failure of a shoelace knot.” More >>


Kaveh Danesh

Kaveh Danesh is a PhD student in the Department of Economics. Before coming to Berkeley, he attended Duke and Harvard Universities; received Fulbright and National Defense Science and Engineering Graduate fellowships; served on Duke’s Board of Trustees; and interned as a writer at The White House. He is currently studying poverty and inequality. More >>


Rebecca Brunner

Rebecca Brunner

As a tropical field ecologist with a background in conservation policy and education, Becca researches strategies that aim to benefit both biodiversity and the livelihoods of local people. Originally from a small cornfield town in Illinois, she has lived and worked in many jungles around the world. She currently researches the nexus of ecosystem services and conservation, as well as synergies between biodiversity and human health. More >>


Katya Cherukimilli

Katya Cherukimilli

Katya Cherukumilli, an environmental engineering graduate student at UC Berkeley, won first place in the Designing Solutions for Poverty contest for her super-low-cost approach to groundwater purification in India. More >>


Laura Sofen

Laura Sofen

Laura Sofen was thrilled to return to Chemistry in “one of the strongest graduate programs in the country, with opportunities I couldn’t find anywhere else,” she says. Her acceptance package also said she’d been selected to receive the Joe Lurie Returned Peace Corps Gateway Fellowship, which would cover her fees and tuition, provide a stipend, and include free room and board at International House for a year. More >>


Luke Patterson

Luke Patterson

With generous support from the Alan Dundes Graduate Fellowship, Luke Patterson has been able to make an unimaginable intellectual journey halfway around the world.The first in his immediate family to graduate from high school and the first in his extended family to go on to a university, Luke grew up in New South Wales and is of Koori (Indigenous Australian) descent. More >>


Selina Makana

Selina Shieunda Makana

Selina earned her Bachelor’s degree in Education with a minor in Linguistics and African Literature at Kenyatta University, Kenya. In 2009/2010, she was a visiting scholar at Stanford University under the Fulbright Foreign Language Teaching program (FLTA). Selina entered the African Diaspora Studies Ph.D. program in 2011. More >>


Elsa Massoc

Elsa Massoc

For Elsa Massoc, a Ph.D. candidate in comparative politics, the opportunity to follow her passion changed her life. Elsa is supported at Berkeley by a graduate fellowship in political science from the Harold Wilensky Fund, which was created with the remaining principal from a charitable gift annuity by Harold Wilensky, professor emeritus of political science at Berkeley. More >>


Yael Tova Segalovitz

Yael Tova Segalovitz

For graduate student Yael Segalovitz, a native of Israel with a passion for both Brazilian and Hebrew literature, a Regents’ Intern Fellowship made pursuing her Ph.D. possible. Funded in part by a generous gift from the Irving and Helen Betz Foundation, the fellowship would guarantee Segalovitz five years of funding. “This was more than financial help,” Segalovitz says. “It was an affirmation that what I do is important.” More >>


Peter Soler

Peter Soler

UC Berkeley doctoral candidate Peter Soler joined a UC San Francisco team developing a small implantable device intended to mimic the functions of the human kidney. If successful, the invention could be a game-changer for two million patients suffering from end-stage renal disease. Soler credits his National Science Foundation fellowship with allowing him to seize that vision. More >>


Paige Johnson

Paige Johnson

Paige Johnson is a graduate student at the Department of Theater, Dance and Performance Studies (TDPS.) An Alabama native, she came to the TDPS following a year in Indonesia on a Fulbright grant after she completed her B.A. from Columbia University. More >>


David Spiciarich

David Spiciarich

David Spiciarich is a graduate student in Chemistry at UC Berkeley and also a “Lindau Fellow.” He was nominated in 2012 to represent the US at the annual meeting of Nobel Laureates in Lindau, Germany, along with a selected group of graduate students. More >>


GDP staff

Amanda Hughen

The new Bay Bridge is still more than a year away from opening, but it’s already inspiring the art of Amanda Hughen, M.F.A. ’03. Hughen and her frequent collaborator, Jennifer Starkweather, created a series of abstract prints, paintings, and drawings that reflect the past and future of the Bay Bridge. More >>


Fiona Doyle, Dean of the Graduate Division
Fiona Doyle, Dean of the Graduate Division

“Donors who give to fellowship funds at Berkeley invest in an incredible talent pool of students, many of whom inevitably go on to employ their talents for the greater good.”  

— Fiona Doyle
Vice Provost for Graduate Studies and
Dean of the Graduate Division

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