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OSU microbiology Ph.D. student Carrie Pratt.

Microbiology Ph.D. student receives Norman Durham Endowed Fellowship

Monday, April 3, 2023

Media Contact: Elizabeth Gosney | CAS Marketing and Communications Manager | 405-744-7497 |

College of Arts and Sciences student Carrie Pratt was recently awarded the Norman Durham Endowed Fellowship for the second year in a row. The fellowship is given to full-time graduate students whose studies focus on microbiology.

Pratt, a second-year Ph.D. student in the Department of Microbiology and Molecular Genetics, has been interested in studying microbiomes — her current area of research — for several years. Originally from Germany, she pursued a degree in biology from the University of North Dakota and later received her master’s in entomology and plant pathology from Oklahoma State University. 

“I’m only two years into my Ph.D. program, so I have some time to make plans, but I’m considering pursuing a post-doctoral position in Europe, ideally in the region where I grew up,” Pratt said. “While I have always planned on joining academia and becoming a professor, I’m also open to exploring opportunities in industry or government if they align with my research interests. Ultimately, my priority is finding a position that allows me to conduct research in my area of interest.”

In addition to the Norman Durham Endowed Fellowship, Pratt also received the Walt Kolb Graduate Studies Scholarship for 2023-24. 

“It’s honestly really exciting!” Pratt said. “Last year I was nominated for the Kolb, but I’m excited to have actually gotten it this year. Obviously, I’m relieved by the lightened financial burden, but I’m just glad that the award committees saw value in my research and accomplishments at OSU. Recognizing my hard work and dedication through the fellowship also boosts my self-confidence and motivates me to continue striving for excellence in the field.”

Pratt has co-authored two articles and a manuscript currently under revision. She is also the primary author of another manuscript that was submitted for publication in February. Dr. Mostafa Elshahed, a professor in the Department of Microbiology and Molecular Genetics who had Pratt as a student in his labs, believes the bulk of her research will end up in high-impact journals.

“Carrie is highly productive, a team player and also an excellent mentor,” Elshahed said. “Her accomplishments in our graduate programs so far have been outstanding. Her laboratory work conducted during the last two years has already yielded some extremely interesting results that will end up changing the scientific community’s perception of the ecology of fungi in herbivores.

"I am sure when all is said and done, Ms. Pratt will graduate as a scientist of international renown that will make us all proud.”

Story By: Bella Vu, CAS student intern |

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