Marquette University receives graduate assistance grant for Department of Biological Sciences

Oct. 13, 2021

Dr. Michael SchlappiDr. Lisa PetrellaMILWAUKEE — Marquette University’s Department of Biological Sciences in the Klingler College of Arts and Sciences has received a $608,000 grant from the U.S. Department of Education to establish a Graduate Assistance in Areas of National Need (GAANN) Program.

The GAANN Fellowship award supports four individuals for up to three years. This will be used to help secure future excellence in teaching and research at the university level in biology, an area designated as a national need. The program will be co-directed by Dr. Michael Schläppi, professor of biological sciences, and Dr. Lisa Petrella, associate professor of biological sciences. Marquette will provide an additional $150,000 to support the GAANN Fellows, including the expansion to a fifth fellow.

“We are pleased to receive this GAANN award as it will allow Marquette to help address the nationwide shortage of teachers and researchers in biological sciences,” Schläppi said. “The effective training of high-quality scientists is of vital importance if we are to maintain the nation's research competitiveness. The implementation of our program will help in the effort to sustain an adequate supply of highly trained biologists in the U.S. workforce.”

This award will be used to provide a stipend and tuition funds for graduate students who will be GAANN fellows, as well as for recruiting highly talented students in financial need, particularly from traditionally underrepresented backgrounds in the biological sciences.

“The Graduate School is pleased to support the GAANN program in the Department of Biological Sciences,” said Dr. Doug Woods, vice provost for graduate and professional studies and dean of the Graduate School. “In addition to providing another avenue for academic support and professional development for our students, this program will contribute to a scientific area of need by supporting and expanding an inclusive and diverse environment for further research and scholarship.”

The graduate program within the Department of Biological Sciences is distinguished by a low student-to-faculty ratio and close, individualized mentoring of students. The program has excelled in training future teachers, and the GAANN program will include activities to further promote the development of teaching skills. This award will also allow for a thorough and flexible evaluation plan designed to respond to the needs of individual fellows as they proceed through the program. Fellows will remain engaged for 10 years after graduation to assure that the project has achieved a long-term beneficial effect on university teaching and research in the biological sciences.

The Department of Education’s GAANN program provides fellowships through academic departments and programs of institutions of higher education. These fellowships assist graduate students with excellent records who demonstrate financial need and plan to pursue the highest degree available in their course study at the institution in a field designated as an area of national need.

About Kevin Conway

Kevin Conway

Kevin is the associate director for university communication in the Office of University Relations. Contact Kevin at (414) 288-4745 or