College of Arts and Science
The Division of Biological Sciences congratulates Sabrina Michael on being selected for this year’s Ethel Sue Lumb Award for Excellence in Graduate Studies.
This endowed award, which comes with a $2000 prize, is given annually by the Division to a graduate student who has demonstrated exceptional promise in research and scholarly activities and has financial need. Michael was recognized for her doctoral research on insect communication, ecology, and behavior.
Michael is a fourth-year Ph.D. candidate in Dr. Rex Cocroft’s lab. For her dissertation, she is studying how group-living individuals make decisions, based on their own perception of the environment and on the behavior of other individuals in their group. Her study species are plant-feeding insects that cooperate to make collective decisions about where to feed on their host plant. She also studies light-foraging decisions in the sensitive plant, Mimosa pudica.
Cocroft called Michael’s research “groundbreaking” and predicted that it will attract significant interest in the field of animal behavior. He lauded Michael as a “highly intelligent and creative academic, fearless about learning new methods and approaches, and dedicated to getting others excited about science.”
The endowed award honors Ethel Sue Lumb, who received her bachelor’s degree from the University of Missouri and went on to a faculty position in biology at Vassar College.