Joseph A. Cushman Award for Student Research

The Cushman Foundation established its first Student Research Award in 1985 to honor the memory of Joseph A. Cushman. The award supports worthy Master's and Doctoral Student research projects dealing with the systematics, biostratigraphy, paleoecology, and ecology of fossil or living foraminifera. Research on geochemistry using microfossils only as geochemical indicators is not funded; however, geochemistry that relates to any aspect of living or fossil foraminifera is fundable and should be explained.

Current students with developed research projects in these areas are encouraged to apply for support. Applicants must be Cushman Foundation members at the time of application. To apply you will need to fill out the application form and provide a description of the proposed research, why it is important, a detailed budget with justification for the expenditures and a curriculum vitae. Budgets should provide sufficient detail that a complete understanding of the financial aspects of the proposed work is clear. A letter of support from the student's faculty advisor is also required. These should be sent to by email to No award will be made for more than $3000. The Board of Directors reserves the right to make no awards or to make awards that differ from the requested budget.

Proposals must be submitted by 1 March. Decisions will be made by the Board of Directors in late April.

A letter reporting the progress of the awardee and use of the Foundation's funds is expected within two years after the award. The Board of Directors hopes that the awardees will submit their results to one of the Foundation's publications, and in any case, requests that acknowledgment of the award be included in any thesis, dissertation or publication that results from work supported by an award of the Foundation.

Proposals will be judged upon scientific merit and financial need. Proposals should consist of an application form, a short (1-3 pages) summary of the student's research, a curriculum vitae, a budget and a letter of support from the advisor. Previous awardees should include a short summary of research completed with the award. Decisions will be made by the Cushman Foundation Board of Directors by late April. Proposals should be submitted by 1 March and sent by email to

Previous award winners include:


  • Naima El bani Altuna, “Bottom water temperature reconstruction in the Eastern Fram Strait through the study of benthic foraminifera." Arctic University of Norway in Tromsø
  • Aishah Norashikin binti Abdul A'ziz, “Reef Foraminifera as Bioindicator of Coral Reef Health in Marine Park, Pulau Tioman, South China Sea.” Universiti Malaysiz Terengganu
  • Seth Sutton, "The Influence of the mid-Miocene Climatic Optimum and Middle Miocene Transition on Benthic Foraminiferal Communities." East Carolina University, USA


  • Kyle Amergian, “Florida's springs coast as an area of refuge for foraminifera during a time of increased ocean acidification.” University of South Florida, USA.
  • Viviana María Gamboa Sojo, “Paleoclimate and paleoenvironmental change of the Barents Sea and adjacent Arctic Basin: paleontological evidences.” Firenze University, Italy


  • Noémie Deldicq, “Reconstructing the history of introduction of three foraminiferal species: Nonionella stella in the Oslofjord (Southeastern Norway) and Quinqueloculina carinatastriata and Ammonia tepida T6 in the Pertuis Charentais (Southwestern France).” University Lille 1, France.
  • Makenna Martin, “Investigating the microbial associations of symbiont-bearing foraminifera on Florida’s reefs.” University of South Florida, USA.
  • Christer Pereira, “Larger benthic foraminiferal biostratigraphy and evolution in Late Paleocene – Eocene succession of Meghalaya, Northeast India.” Indian Institute of Technology, Bombay, India.
  • Filip Scheiner, “Detailed Geochemical Analysis (Mg/Ca; δ18O) of Foraminiferal Tests from the  Central Paratethys at the Time of the Wieliczkian Salinity Crisis (Langhian).” Charles University, Prague, Czech Republic.


  • Nur Sakinah Abdul Razak, "Benthic foraminifera as bioindicators of pollution in mangrove area of Kilim River, Malaysia." Universiti Malaysia Terengganu, Malaysia.
  • Charles Adams, "Foraminiferal assessment of saltmarsh recovery in Cascadia since the AD 1700 megathrust earthquake." University of NC Wilmington, USA.
  • Rehemat Bhatia, "Eocene planktonic foraminiferal paleoecology interpreted through trace element and stable isotope geochemistry." University College London, UK.
  • Karan Bhatt, "Diversity analysis of foraminifera along the coast of Kachchh, Gujarat-India" KSKV Kachchh University, India.
  • Maria Makarova, “Application of planktonic foraminiferal stable isotopes and trace metals to reconstruct thermal history of the North Atlantic across the middle Miocene climatic optimum." Rutgers University, USA.
  • Rachel Stearns, "A High-Resolution Proxy Reconstruction of Late Holocene Relative Sea Level in Rhode Island, USA." University of Rhode Island, USA.


  • Sean Beckwith, "Elevated Saturation Levels from Carbonate Substrates Serve as Refugia for Larger Foraminifera," University of South Florida, USA
  • Jennifer Walker, "Reconstructing late Holocene sea-level in the Chesapeake Bay area using salt-marsh foraminifera," Rutgers University, USA.


  • Caitlin Keating-Bitonti, "Oxygen stress on benthic foraminifera: a modern case study of elemental I/Ca ratios," Stanford University, USA.
  • Weimin Si, "Morphologic evolution of the Globorotalia fohsi lineage," Rutgers University, USA.
  • William Phalen, "Homotrema rubrum distribution and abundance: A potential paleoceanographic proxy for past disturbance events," University of Georgia, USA.


  • Valerie Cruz, “Assemblage Comparisons of Living Benthic Foraminifera within Bathyal Oiled and Un-oiled Sites of the Northeastern Gulf of Mexico,” University of Southern Mississippi, USA.
  • Steve Doo, “Potential for poleward range extension in tropical symbiont-bearing large benthic foraminifera: Assessing resiliency of temperate and tropical foraminifera to climate-driven ocean change,” University of Sydney, Australia.


Ellen Brouillette, M.Sc. student, University of Georgia, USA - "An Experimental Approach to Understanding the Impacts of Heavy Metal Pollutants on Benthic Foraminifera"

Olivia Gibb, M.Sc. student, Dalhousie University, Canada - "Paleoceanographic conditions in the Amundsen Gulf and Viscount Melville Sound, Northwest Passage"


Annette Bolton, Ph.D. student, Victoria University of Wellington, School of Geography, Environment & Earth Sciences, NZ - "Coupled δ18O- Mg/Ca analysis of individual Globigerinoides ruber (white) and Neogloboquadrina incompta: paleo-environmental implications"

Serena Dameron, M.S. student, University of Massachusetts at Amherst, Department of Geosciences, USA - "Benthic foraminiferal changes associated with isotopic changes at the Mid-Maastrictian event and end of the Early Eocene climatic optimum, Shatsky Rise, North Pacific"

Laura Wegener Parfrey, Ph.D. student, University of Massachusetts, Program in Organismic and Evolutionary Biology, USA - "Genomic processing and sequence evolution in foraminifera"


Katherine Jordan, PhD. student, Institute of Marine and Coastal Sciences, Rutgers University, USA - "Assessing the effects of calcite saturation state on metal uptake and post-depositional dissolution in benthic foraminiferal calcite"

Heidi Souder, PhD. student, College of Marine Science, University of South Florida, USA - "Shell abnormalities in Archaias angulatus (Foraminifera) from the Florida Keys: the possible affects of increasing atmospheric carbon dioxide?"



Jennifer L. Frail-Gauthier, Msc. student, Centre for Environmental and Marine Geology, Dalhousie University, Canada - “Studies of the biology and pollution tolerances of marsh foraminifera from a cold, temperate marsh in Nova Scotia, Canada

Andrea D. Hawkes, PhD. student, Earth & Environmental Science, University of Pennsylvania, USA - “Constraining Past Mega-Thrust Earthquake-induced Vertical Land Movement in the Pacific Northwest


Scott Fay - "Ecological Zonation of Endosymbionts in Tropical Reef-Dwelling Foraminifera"

Alicia Kahn - "Morphological Inventory of Indian Ocean Calcareous Nannoplankton"


Anna Sabbatini - "Diversity of Polar Monothalamous Foraminifera - Morphological and Molecular Approach"

Irene J. Abbene - "Distribution of Foraminifera, Sources of Organic Matter, and Sedimentation Rates in Pamlico Sound, North Carolina"

Jaime Escobar - " Thecamoebians as Environmental and Paleoenvironmental Indicators: Evidence from Modern Thecamoebian Distributions in Florida Lakes"


Deniz Altin - "Using Novel Mitochondrial Genetic Markers for Phylogeny Reconstruction in Foraminifera"

Tessa M. Hill - "Foraminifera of Methane Rich Environments: Species Assemblages, Geochemistry, and Implications of the Fossil Record"


John Hernandez - "Miocene (8-12 Ma) Sea-Level Changes at Bethany Beach, DE"

David Vance - "Benthic Foraminifera as Indicators of Environmental Change in the Outer Banks-Albemarle Sound System, North Carolina"