Katherine Bui awarded Floyd O'Neil fellowship
The American West Center awarded Katherine Bui, Environmental Humanities master’s student, one of the two Floyd O’Neil Fellowships for 2019-20. This fellowship in honor of the late professor Floyd A. O’Neil is awarded to a student conducting research in the American West. Ms. Bui’s research focuses on the anthropogenic nature of modern day wildfires by exploring fire and human land use history. The fellowship provides Bui $1,700 to fund her research and travel expenses. Ms. Bui was selected for this opportunity based on the following criteria: scholarly potential of the applicant herself, scholarly significance of the project, clear research approach and plan, knowledge of source materials related to the proposal, and the project’s focus on the American West.
Ms. Bui graduated from the University of Texas at Austin with a B.S. in Environmental Science with a Biology focus. She was also a Doris Duke Conservation Scholar between 2016-2018. "My undergraduate work cultivated an appreciation for the sciences as a way to understand the world. This is also where my interests in paleoenvironmental change began, using modern day techniques to recreate past climates from things like lake sediment", she says.
Ms. Bui's graduate project "is an opportunity for me to tap into my science background while exploring the humanities through historical and scientific literature and personal observation”, she explains. Her final project will consist of a series of nonfiction essays, intended for an audience interested in science and climate change.
Ms. Bui visited the first of her two research sites, Rattlesnake Lake in the Sierra National Forest of California, during October break. She will visit her second site in the Spring of 2020: Paradise, California, the town decimated by the Camp Fire in 2018. She will be exploring the town’s history, its rebuilding process, and the nature of living in a high risk area.
As a Floyd O’Neil Fellow, Ms. Bui can seek guidance and additional research support from the American West Center. In recognition of this support, she will present her research findings at the American West Center in Spring ‘20.