Campus News

Denzell Cross awarded Ford Foundation Predoctoral Fellowship

Denzell Cross is a doctoral student in integrative conservation and ecology (Credit: Nancy Evelyn).

Denzell Cross, a doctoral student in integrative conservation and ecology at the University of Georgia, has been awarded a Ford Foundation Predoctoral Fellowship. This highly selective award—approximately 65 were given in 2018—provides three years of support for study in pursuit of a doctorate.

It recognizes academic excellence; promise for future achievement as a scholar, researcher and teacher in higher education; and capacity to use diversity as a resource to enrich the education of all students. Cross is the fourth UGA student to receive the award.

Cross studies the impacts of landscape-scale disturbance on urban watersheds in Georgia using trait-based ecology and historical data. Specifically, he is exploring how the structure and function of communities of macroinvertebrates—small creatures like insects, crayfish and snails—living in streams and rivers change through time in response to increasing urbanization.

His work will help inform management and conservation efforts in urban environments.

“Denzell has been such a fantastic addition to my lab and to the Odum community,” said Cross’ doctoral advisor Krista Capps, assistant professor in the Odum School of Ecology and Savannah River Ecology Laboratory. “His proposed work has the potential to fundamentally change how we understand the long-term impacts of urbanization on animal communities. ​The recognition of Denzell’s potential as a scientist from the Ford Foundation is wonderful and exceptionally well-deserved.”

The doctoral program in integrative conservation combines disciplinary depth in one of four areas—anthropology, ecology, geography or forestry and natural resources—and collaboration across disciplines and fields of practice, with a focus on solving the complex conservation challenges of the future.

“Denzell is a perfect example of the kind of scholar we hope to train in the integrative conservation program,” said Meredith Welch Devine, director of interdisciplinary graduate studies in the UGA Graduate School. “His work has great potential not only to advance our scientific understanding, but also to make a real difference in how we approach conservation in urban contexts. This fellowship from the Ford Foundation is a wonderful recognition of this outstanding scholar.”

The Ford Foundation Predoctoral Fellowship is administered by the Fellowships Office of the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine.