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Office of Graduate Fellowships and Awards / News / In the News / Doctoral Students Named PEO Scholars

Doctoral Students Named PEO Scholars

Two Florida State University doctoral students have been recognized as outstanding scholars by a philanthropic educational organization, PEO International.  April Smith, a doctoral student in Psychology, and Jennifer Misuraca, a doctoral student in Physics, were selected from hundreds of international scholars for the prestigious, merit-based Scholar Award for the 2011-12 academic year. Both students were nominated by local P.E.O. members; they will each receive the $15,000 award to support their academic endeavors.

April Smith’s research focuses on understanding disordered eating in minority populations and how minority status and gender may contribute to risk for suicide among people with eating disorders. Smith is advised by Dr. Thomas Joiner, a Robert O. Lawton Distinguished Professor, in the Clinical Psychology program. “I am extremely honored to be a recipient of the PEO Scholar Award. This award will provide necessary funding for participant recruitment, as well as enable me to present my research at national conferences and help to defer the costs of completing my one year internship at the University of California San Diego," said Smith. “After receiving my doctorate, I plan to obtain a tenure-track faculty position at an educational institution where I can conduct research and have continued involvement in clinical work, with a focus on advancing the treatment of suicidality among individuals with eating disorders.”

Jennifer Misuraca’s research analyzes the development of spin-based electronics as faster, more functionally stable and energy efficient technological devices.  Misuraca is jointly advised by Drs. Stephan von Molnár and Peng Xiong in the Condensed Matter and Materials Physics program within the Physics department. Misuraca plans to use her award to purchase analytical software, present her most recent results at national and international conferences, and conduct summer research with a leading semiconductor growth expert, Dr. Jianhua Zhao, at the Institute of Semiconductors, Chinese Academy of Sciences in Beijing. “I am thankful for the opportunities that this award has provided me. This exceptionally unique opportunity will enhance my expertise of semiconductor devices substantially, providing me a well-rounded set of experimental skills which will facilitate my early career development. After the completion of my dissertation, I will seek a postdoctoral position in my current field of nanotechnology in order to continue this important research for technological advancement,” said Misuraca. 

Founded in Iowa in 1869, the PEO Sisterhood aims to promote the advancement of women through educational philanthropy. Their nonprofit foundation established the Scholar Award in 1991 to recognize advanced doctoral and postgraduate students who demonstrate scholarly excellence and the potential to make significant contributions to their fields. In previous years, local PEO members have successfully nominated other outstanding scholars who were FSU students: Kimberly Van Orden in 2008, Shawntel Ensminger and Sarah Diesburg in 2009, and Meghan Keough in 2010.

To learn more about Smith and Misuraca, click here.