The Metropolitan Washington Chapter of the ARCS Foundation has played a vital role in sustaining and enhancing scientific study at Georgetown University through its generous support of graduate education and research in the STEM fields. ARCS Scholar Awards provide $15,000 per year to doctoral students engaged in rigorous scientific study leading to the completion of a research-based dissertation.
2020-21 ARCS/MWC Endowment Scholar Nicole Wagner shared how this award has contributed to her research:
I feel tremendously honored to have been named as the Thomas L. and Beulah L. Bateman Family Foundation Endowment Scholar of the Metropolitan Washington Chapter of ARCS. This support has funded my scientific research into the microbial communities in the conical stromatolites present in Lake Untersee in Queen Maud Land, Antarctica.
I am currently in the third year of the biology PhD program at Georgetown University, in Professor Sarah Stewart Johnson’s biosignatures lab. I am pursuing my degree by researching the water and microbial mats in and around Lake Untersee, which is a unique environment that can teach us not only about ancient life on our planet, before the rise of eukaryotes, but can also serve as a model to understand the energy sources for life on one of the frozen moons of Saturn. Like Lake Untersee, tiny Enceladus is home to a body of water permanently trapped beneath a layer of ice.
The ARCS scholarship has ensured that I will be able to finish this project and add invaluable information to our understanding of extreme environments and limits of life on our planet.