Doctoral student Malinee Neelamegam receives Phi Kappa Phi fellowship

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Malinee Neelamegam, a USF COPH doctoral student in epidemiology, recently received a $10,000 dissertation fellowship from the academic honor society Phi Kappa Phi. This year the group presented 10 such fellowships to graduate students around the country. All the students, working in a variety of disciplines, are currently in the writing phase of their dissertations—or what the society calls “the finish line of their doctoral programs.”

“I’m very grateful and thankful,” said Neelamegam, whose dissertation focuses on the use of anticholinergic agents and opioids and their effects on the aging brain. “This award validates the work I do.”

Doctoral student Malinee Neelamegam wins $10,000 Phi Kappa Phi dissertation fellowship. (Photo Courtesy of the USF Office of National Scholarship)

According to Phi Kappa Phi, fellowship awardees are selected based on “how the fellowship will contribute to the completion of the dissertation, the significance of original research and endorsement by the dissertation chair,” which in Neelamegam’s case is Dr. Janice Zgibor.

Besides affording her time to concentrate on her writing, Neelamegam also noted that the award money will enable her to travel to conferences where she can present her dissertation. “This not only lets others know of the work we are doing in public health,” she said, “but it also puts you out there in terms of finding a job.”

Neelamegam, who is a native of Malaysia, came to USF as a Fulbright Scholar. She recently completed a six-month program at the Centre for Research on Ageing, Health & Wellbeing at the Australian National University in Canberra, Australia, where she focused on dementia research.

She and her husband, Sharad Malavade, who received his doctorate from USF COPH in 2015, also recently welcomed a baby boy to the family.

Neelamegam hopes to finish her dissertation within the next year and plans on pursuing a career with a research organization before settling into an academic professorship in epidemiology or aging.

Story by Donna Campisano, USF College of Public Health