University of Illinois graduate student Alison Beloshapka of Manhattan, Illinois, USA, has been awarded one of the first Nutro Co. Natural Pet Nutrition Fellowships to fund her tuition and fees for three years of PhD training.

“When I discovered that the Nutro Co. would be funding my PhD career, I was surprised and excited,” said Beloshapka. “I wasn’t expecting to receive funding from a petfood company for the rest of my graduate career. It is reassuring to know they care enough about companion animal nutrition to invest so much into research.” Beloshapka will complete the majority of her animal research in Leicestershire, England, at the Waltham Centre for Pet Nutrition. Waltham is the global scientific and research headquarters of Mars Inc. (owners of Nutro) and employs more than 150 research scientists with expertise in nutrition, animal physiology, behavior and molecular biology.

The petfood industry has a continuing need for graduates trained in the field of canine and feline nutrition, said Kelly Swanson, University of Illinois associate professor in animal nutrition and functional genomics and Beloshapka’s graduate advisor. “I’m pleased to see a company make a serious investment in graduate education,” said Swanson. “While many companies collaborate with academic institutions to solve basic or applied research problems, an investment purely in graduate education is unique. By funding this fellowship, the Nutro Co. has acknowledged and acted on this need.”