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Awards & Fellowships

Nominations and applications for the Microbiology, Genetics, & Immunology Department Student Awards are solicited in the Spring term each year. Awardees are honored at the annual Departmental Award Reception near the end of the Spring term, and additionally, in the case of the Gerhardt and Sayer Awards, at Graduate Commencement. Recipients are recognized by being listed in the departmental website under each specific award. 




  • The Gloss Award is supported by Karen and David Gloss of Clare, MI. The Award is made to support and promote undergraduate research projects such as that completed by Dr. Lisa Gloss, their daughter (now an Associate Professor at Washington State University), when Lisa was an undergraduate student in the Department. The Gloss Award provides an undergraduate research stipend for a summer project and two semesters of research in the lab of the student's choice. The Award is made to a Microbiology, Genetics, & Immunology undergraduate, usually at the end of her/his second year, and the award is based on both academic excellence and the potential of the planned research program.
  • Click here for previous Gloss awardees


  • The Norman E. and Hanna C. Kelker Undergraduate Research Scholarship in Honor of Harold and Gertrude Sadoff was established to provide scholarship support for deserving and capable students doing undergraduate research in the Department of Microbiology, Genetics, & Immunology.
  • Click here for previous Kelker awardees


  • The Theodore P. and Alice J. Rykala Scholarship Fund for Microbiology was endowed by Susan Avery (Rykala) and Martha Rykala to honor their parents, Theodore (MS Electrical Engineering, 1949) and Alice Rykala (Green, B.S. Bacteriology, 1945). Ted and Alice were firm believers in higher education and supportive of the science and engineering careers of their children, all of whom hold advanced degrees in science and engineering. Alice was one of the early women graduates in bacteriology, performing research with the Department of Agricultural Chemistry after graduation. Ted used his degrees to forge a strong career in communications technologies. Recipients must demonstrate financial need.
  • Click here for previous Rykala awardees


  • The Sayer Award honors Dr. William S. Sayer, a former MGI Department faculty member from 1906 to 1909. It was first given in 1910, and it is now presented annually to a graduating senior in recognition of academic excellence and "outstanding work in microbiology."
  • Click here for previous Sayer awardees


  • The Amber Cody Springman Memorial Scholarship was established by Venetia Givens with Cody's family and friends. Amber Cody Springman received her B.S. degree in the department, including a significant amount of her time doing undergraduate research with Prof. Thomas Whittam. She continued her education and earned her Ph.D. in Comparative Medicine and Integrative Biology with Dr. Whittam studying microbial pathogenesis. Dr. Springman passed away in May 2014, and this scholarship was established in her honor. Preference shall be given to undergraduate students who will have achieved Junior or Senior status in the Deparment of Microbiology, Genetics, & Immunology by the beginning of the semester in which the award will become effective, and who are engaged in undergraduate research.
  • Click here for previous Springman awardees
  • The Richard M. and Susan S. Van Frank Undergraduate Research Fund was established in 2019 to support and enhance undergraduate research within the Department of Microbiology, Genetics, & Immunology. This award recognizes Dr. Richard Van Frank, who received his B.S., M.S., and Ph.D. at MSU amidst his enlistment in the Korean War. 
  • Click here for previous Van Frank awardees



  • The DuVall Awards were endowed by Russell B. DuVall and Dr. Dorothy DuVall to benefit worthy and capable students in the Microbiology, Genetics, & Immunology Department. Russell DuVall was a chemist who worked at Dow Chemical Co. and developed an interest, late in life, in both microbiology and in MSU. Dorothy DuVall, his sister, was a physician in the Midland area. Both DuValls lived in Mason, MI after their retirement. Generally two DuVall Awards are given annually to graduate students and to undergraduate students. Recipients are selected on the basis of professional goals, research initiative and financial need.
  • Click here for previous DuVall awardees


  • The Gerhardt Award is awarded by the Department with support from Philipp and Vera M. Gerhardt. Philipp Gerhardt is a former chairperson of the Department, former President of both the American Society of Microbiology and the International Union of Microbiological Societies, and a distinguished teacher, administrator, and research scientist. The Gerhardt Award is given annually to a graduating senior in recognition of outstanding undergraduate research accomplishments. The Gerhardt Fund also supports travel of graduate and undergraduate students to meetings, especially to students who are presenting papers at the American Society of Microbiology Annual Meeting.
  • Click here for previous Gerhardt awardees


  • The Eleanor L. Gilmore Endowed Excellence Award was established by Eleanor L. Gilmore, class of 1943, to benefit research and scholarships in the Department of Microbiology and Public Health in the College of Natural Science. The intent of this endowed fund is to encourage and support excellence in research by students and faculty. This is to maintain excellent undergraduate and graduate programs, and the accompanying need to provide excellent and challenging learning environments including laboratories and equipment within which teaching and research take place.
  • Click here for previous Gilmore awardees


  • The Hsiung-Kimball Award was endowed by Dr. G. D. (Edith) Hsiung in honor of her close friend, Dr. Margaret Kimball and the Kimball family. Dr. Hsiung received her Ph.D. in the Department with Dr. H. J. Stafseth, and she went on to a world-renowned career in clinical virology at the New Haven VA Hospital and Yale University. Dr. Kimball's family hosted Dr. Hsiung during her graduate career, and the two became close friends. Dr. Kimball subsequently received the D.V.M. degree and has now retired from her veterinary practice in DeWitt, MI. The Hsiung-Kimball Award is given annually to one graduate or undergraduate student "on the basis of academic excellence and potential to succeed in their chosen field." Preference is given, when possible, to a student whose academic interests are in either clinical virology or bacteriology.
  • Click here for prevous Hsiung-Kimball awardees


  • The Frank Peabody Microbiology Student Research Fund has been endowed by Mark and Sandy Ehlert to support undergraduate or graduate research. The Fund supports awards to enhance the attractiveness of graduate stipends and/or provide research grants to encourage undergraduate participation in individualized research projects. Typically one student will receive the award per year. The Peabody Award recognizes the late Dr. Frank Peabody, a long time faculty member and former Director of Undergraduate Studies in the department. Mr. Ehlert, a graduate of the department ('75) and now a leader in the pharmaceutical and medical products industry, recalls with gratitude the opportunities he had to participate in research projects during his undergraduate career here at MSU and, especially, the mentoring he received from Dr. Peabody.
  • Click here for previous Peabody awardees



  • The Beneke Award is given to students from Plant Biology, Microbiology, Genetics, & Immunology, and Plant Soil and Microbial Sciences. Recipients shall be a student pursuing a graduate degree in a field related to mycology. Funds can be used in support of travel, research, or a stipend. Additional information about the award can be found at grad.msu.edu/beneke.
  • Click here for previous Beneke awardees


  • The Ralph Evans Award is endowed by Dr. Richard Lenski and his wife Madeleine Lenski. Dr. Lenski, John Hannah Professor of Microbial Ecology, is an endowed professor in the Department of Microbiology, Genetics, & Immunology (MGI) at Michigan State University. The endowment is to support microbial evolution and its underlying ecological and genetic processes in MGI.
  • Click here for previous Ralph Evans awardees


  • The Rudolph Hugh Fellowship is endowed by Dr. Rudolph Hugh, who is an undergraduate alumnus of our department and a former Microbiology faculty member at George Washington University. The recipient will focus in the area of molecular pathogenesis of bacteria or their systematics.
  • Click here for previous Rudolph Hugh awardees


  • The Dr. C. A. Reddy and Sasikala Reddy Endowed Graduate Award in Microbial Physiology-Ecology is contributed by Dr. C. A. Reddy, a former distinguished faculty member of the department, and Sasikala Reddy, the former Director of College Information Systems at Health Information Technology. Dr. Reddy enjoyed teaching undergraduate and graduate courses for 36 years, particularly those relating to infectious diseases with a focus on bacterial and mycological diseases. He is recognized nationally and internationally for his research contributions on lignin biodegradation and for inventing SumaGrow, a microbial product that markedly enhances the productivity of a broad spectrum of food and vegetable crops.
  • Click here for previous Reddy awardees


  • The Marvis A. Richardson Endowed Fellowhip Fund in Microbiology, Genetics, & Immunology is a supplemental graduate fellowship fund with a special emphasis on students, particularly women, with interests in immunology. Dr. Richardson, who retired in 1972, is an Emeritus Professor in the department.
  • Click here for previous Richardson awardees


  • The Ronald M. and Sharon Rogowski Fellowship for Food Safety and Toxicology is a graduate fellowship that includes special emphasis on training in the food safety area.
  • Click here for previous Rogowski awardees


  • The Wentworth Fellowship is supported by Dr. Berttina B. Wentworth and her husband Earl L. Helmers. Dr. Wentworth is retired from a distinguished career as a medical microbiologist at the Michigan Department of Public Health with an additional adjunct appointment as an Associate Professor in the Department of Microbiology, Genetics, & Immunology. The Wentworth Fellowship is awarded annually to one graduate student pursing a graduate research program in medical microbiology, immunology or virology.
  • Click here for previous Wentworth awardees


  • The Thomas S. Whittam Award was created in honor of Dr. Thomas S. Whittam, a distinguished former faculty member of this department and a university Hannah Chair, by his wife, Beth Whittam. Dr. Whittam was especially well known for his work on the evolution and emergence of pathogenic bacteria with special emphasis on food and waterborne infectious diseases. Of particular interest, his research has elucidated the ancestry of Escherichia coli O157:H7, a newly emerged pathogen that has caused large outbreaks of foodborne illness.
  • Click here for previous Whittam awardees