Groves '11 Receives National Research Fellowship
Anna Groves '11 conducts field research.
April 18, 2013
BLOOMINGTON, Ill. – Illinois Wesleyan University alumna Anna Groves of Naperville,
Ill., class of 2011, has received a prestigious National Science Foundation (NSF)
Graduate Research Fellowship. Groves is currently a graduate student pursuing a Ph.D.
in plant biology at Michigan State University.
According to the National Science Foundation, only 2,000 Graduate Research Fellowships
were awarded from over 13,000 applications. The program recognizes and supports outstanding
graduate students in NSF-supported science, technology, engineering and mathematics
disciplines. The Fellowship will cover Groves’ tuition for three years of her doctoral
program at Michigan State, along with a stipend.
An environmental studies major at Illinois Wesleyan, Groves is now a graduate student
at Michigan State’s Brudvig lab in plant biology. The lab’s central research uses
basic ecological concepts to inform restoration practices, while using restoration
as a system to learn more about ecology.
“I’m broadly interested in why restoration projects don’t always turn out the way
we want them to,” said Groves. “If we can’t rebuild an ecosystem, then we don’t know
enough about its ecology.”
More specifically, Groves’ research questions consider whether the establishment phase
of a restoration (clearing existing vegetation and then seeding a prairie, for example)
or the later ongoing management (burning or manual brush removal in the prairie) has
a greater impact on restoration outcomes.
“Both are known to be important, but sorting out the effects of each and the interaction
between the two will have important implications for land managers with limited resources,”
As an undergraduate at Illinois Wesleyan, Groves conducted a research project analyzing
population levels of red-tailed hawks and American kestrels and their relation to
latitude using five years of winter raptor survey data. R. Given Harper, George C.
and Ella Beach Lewis Endowed Chair of Biology at IWU, served as her undergraduate
research advisor. Groves was named the outstanding student in environmental studies
“Anna is a very impressive student and she is very deserving of this prestigious fellowship,”
said Harper. “I am confident she has the potential to make significant contributions
in restoration ecology.”
Prior to entering graduate school, Groves also worked four seasons in Illinois and
Nevada as a research technician or field assistant.
“My summer work with the Illinois Natural Areas Inventory has had the strongest influence
in bringing me to where I am today,” said Groves. “My inspiration for my current research
questions definitely stems from the patterns I saw in the natural areas in Illinois
that we were surveying.”
After completing her Ph.D., Groves would like to continue doing research for a nonprofit
or perhaps a government agency.
Contact: Kim Hill, (309) 556-3960