SBC alumnus Stonefish receives NSF fellowship

Volume 23, No. 2 - Winter 2011
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NSF FELLOW. Sitting Bull College alumnus Dereck Stonefish won a National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship for his work studying the migratory ecology of red-winged blackbirds and yellow-headed blackbirds. Photo by Dr. Erin Gillam, assistant professor of biological sciences, North Dakota State University, Fargo

Sitting Bull College (SBC, Fort Yates, ND) alumnus Dereck Stonefish is a first-year graduate student in the Department of Biological Sciences at North Dakota State University (NDSU), where he has been awarded a prestigious National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship.

In awarding the fellowship, the National Science Foundation (NSF) noted that Stonefish’s selection “was based on his outstanding abilities and accomplishments, as well as his potential to contribute to strengthening the vitality of the U.S. Science and Engineering enterprise.”

The fellowship is awarded over a three-year period (2011-2014) and carries a total award of $151,500 for research-related expenses.

“I’m happy, humbled, and very grateful to be given such an opportunity,” says Stonefish, who is pursuing a doctorate degree in zoology. He is conducting research on the migratory ecology of red-winged blackbirds and yellowheaded blackbirds that are summer residents in North Dakota. He is using geo-locators to track the movements of these birds from North Dakota to their wintering grounds and then back to North Dakota.

Stonefish is the first SBC graduate to receive this prestigious NSF award and is one of only four tribal college students across the United States to receive it since 2006.

During his undergraduate work at Sitting Bull College, Stonefish participated in the Nurturing American Tribal Undergraduate Research and Education (NATURE) Program, also sponsored by ND EPSCoR.

Stonefish’s family includes Nancy and Basil Summers, Victor and Marcia Brave Thunder, and Kathy Bailey, Standing Rock Reservation, ND.

For more information about the NDSU National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship, contact Carol Renner at (701) 231-5174 or For information about SBC undergraduate Environmental Science programs, contact Dr. Koreen Ressler at (701) 854-8001 or

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