News at the University of New Brunswick

UNB students awarded over 1 3 million in national graduate scholarship Competition

Author: Communications

Posted on Apr 26, 2010


Natalie Weigum and Nathan Wilbur are two UNB students who have been given a boost to pursue their research thanks to the 2010 Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC) graduate scholarship competition.

A total of 39 students on UNB’s Fredericton and Saint John campuses were recently awarded scholarships from NSERC totalling more than $1.3 million to pursue graduate studies and research at the master’s and doctoral levels.

John Neville, associate dean of graduate studies at UNB, says the success rate of UNB students in this national competition was very high this year.

“Our students saw an 85 per cent success rate amongst those applications that were forwarded to Ottawa from UNB,” said Dr. Neville. “All of us at the School of Graduate Studies are proud of these students and wish them continued success in their studies and research.”

Ms. Weigum, who is graduating from UNB in May with an honours degree in physics and chemistry, was awarded a $25,000 Julie Payette scholarship through NSERC.

“I’m interested in researching the effects that atmospheric aerosols have on our climate,” said Ms. Weigum. “I’m hoping my research will improve our ability to measure the effects these aerosols have on global warming and climate change.”

Ms. Weigum, who was born and raised in Fredericton, N.B., will be attending the University of Oxford in England this coming fall to pursue her PhD in atmospheric physics and says the NSERC scholarship has made the financial burden of going to school and living in England much easier.

Mr. Wilbur, originally from Hampton, N.B., is finishing his first year of a master’s degree in civil engineering. He was awarded $17,500 from NSERC to continue his research in protecting fish habitat in New Brunswick’s rivers.

“By using thermal censors from a helicopter, we’re in the process of mapping cold water sources along rivers in the Miramichi area,” said Mr. Wilbur. “It’s important that we know where these areas are, so we can go into the water and see how the fish are benefitting from the cold water sources.”

Mr. Wilbur says we need to be careful when developing around water. “Salmon and trout are particularly sensitive and their success indicates ecosystem health”, said Mr. Wilbur. “The increased development close to our river systems has made me increasingly interested in protecting fish and their habitats, which is why I’ve chosen this area of research.”

NSERC awarded more than 2,800 scholarships to students at the master’s, doctoral and postdoctoral levels across Canada.

Dr. Neville says the NSERC program encourages UNB’s top students in the natural sciences and engineering to pursue advanced studies and research.

“The financial support provided allows the students to focus on their research and achieve significant results more quickly.”

About UNB

Established in 1785, UNB is one of the oldest public universities in North America. With more than 12,500 full- and part-time students from more than 100 countries, UNB has the best student-to-faculty ratio of Canada’s comprehensive universities, according to Maclean’s magazine. As the largest research institution in New Brunswick, UNB conducts over 75 per cent of the province’s university research. The university has an annual operating budget of more than $165 million and annually employs more than 3,500 faculty, staff and students. UNB’s two main campuses are located in Fredericton and Saint John, New Brunswick.


Natasha St. Pierre, Communication Officer (506) 458-7969