Accomplishments and Awards
As the cornerstone of graduate education at Texas State, The Graduate College is honored to present all successes in the graduate community. We are happy to present and promote our graduate students' scholarly accomplishments, both past and present, faculty awards and honors, and national program rankings.
If you have an award, honor, or accomplishment you would like to share with us, please let us know!
- presentations at professional meetings
- external funding awards
- leadership positions
- special performances
Dr. Sara Patricia Weaver, who earned her Ph.D. in Aquatic Resources and Integrative Biology on August 9, 2019, has won The Graduate College’s Outstanding Dissertation Award in the Life and Biological Sciences. Her dissertation, “Understanding Wind Energy Impacts on Bats and Testing Reduction Strategies in South Texas,” was directed by Dr. Ivan Castro-Arellano, Professor in the Department of Biology.
Dr. Weaver’s dissertation is one of the first comprehensive studies of wind energy impacts on Texas bats and the first to assess an impact reduction strategy. Negative impacts from burning fossil fuels are promoting increased development of renewable energy alternatives, resulting in an exponential global expansion of wind energy facilities. However, wind energy directly impacts bats, which suffer significant fatalities at wind turbines when struck by moving turbine blades. Dr. Weaver’s results are informing wind energy operators across the southwestern U.S. and northern Mexico about species of concern and needs for conservation efforts. Consequently, multiple wind energy facilities across the globe, from Hawaii to Africa, have now installed the deterrents she tested in her dissertation to reduce bat mortalities. By reducing bat mortality and the need for turbine runtime curtailment at wind energy facilities, this research directly affects human populations by supporting renewable energy alternatives, mitigating the impacts of climate change while protecting wild bat populations that are vital to human food production, pest and pest-born disease management, and general economic stability through the agricultural sector. Dr. Weaver’s dissertation research has been funded by multiple large-scale external grants.
As the winner of this competition, Dr. Weaver will receive $1,000 and will be recognized at The Graduate College’s Awards Ceremony next April. She has also been entered into the Council of Graduate School’s national competition for best dissertation in the above-mentioned category.