Colton Watts, a Ph.D. student in biological sciences, received a 2019-2020 Presidential Graduate Fellowship from the University of Nebraska for high academic performance and personal accomplishment.
Watts already has published journal articles and numerous presentations under his belt. He conducts research in the lab of biologist Eileen Hebets, his advisor, focusing on the evolutionary ecology of behavior and life history decisions.
His early work at Nebraska centered on the evolution of daily rhythms. His study comparing predicted rhythms of foraging behavior to around-the-clock observations of individuals foraging in their natural habitat was the first to demonstrate that the daily rhythm of a terrestrial organism closely resembles the rhythm expected to evolve by natural selection.
"[Fellows] are accomplished scholars, inspiring mentors and outstanding representatives of their campuses," Interim President Susan Fritz said. "Exactly the kind of young people who will lead our state forward."
After finishing his Ph.D., Watts would like to pursue a post-doctoral fellowship and continue on a path to be a full-time researcher, instructor and mentor. His bachelor's and master's degrees are from East Tennessee State University.
Fellows receive an annual stipend made available through the University of Nebraska Foundation that allows them to pursue their studies full-time.