College of Science; Graduate School

Mathematics Ph.D. student Eva Murphy receives Dr. Kenyon Fairey Annual Doctoral Fellowship


Eva Murphy, a fifth-year doctoral candidate in the Clemson University School of Mathematical and Statistical Sciences, has received the Dr. Kenyon Fairey Annual Doctoral Fellowship for her dissertation research on wind.

In her dissertation, Murphy aims to develop a modeling framework for studying the variation of wind speed and direction in space and time. She has three main goals: to develop statistical models and methods to accurately model wind speed and wind direction, to extend the modeling of the wind data to the space-time field by incorporating factors like seasonality and long-term trends, and to include machine learning methods to predict future wind speed and wind direction. 

Murphy said having the Dr. Kenyon Fairey Doctoral Fellowship will allow her to focus on her second and third goals during the final year of her Ph.D. program. She has also received the Call Me Doctor Dissertation Completion Fellowship.

Woman sitting at a desk with a laptop smiles at the photographer
Eva Murphy received the Dr. Kenyon Fairey Annual Doctoral Fellowship for her research on wind speed and wind direction.

She plans to present her findings at three upcoming environmental and statistical conferences. She has already presented her work several times, including a review talk in the National Institute of Statistical Sciences Graduate Student Research Conference and at the SC-American Statistical Association Palmetto Symposium, where she won a student presentation award.  She was also invited to present at the fifth International Conference on Econometrics and Statistics. Murphy’s one-minute research snapshot video has been highlighted on the NSF Institute for Mathematical and Statistical Innovation (IMSI) Facebook page.

Substantial statistical modeling

“Eva is an outstanding graduate student with impressive academic achievements as well as education and outreach activities. Eva’s research focuses on statistical modeling of wind vector with the goal of providing a modeling framework for studying the spatio-temporal variation of wind speed and wind direction, a topic that requires substantial statistical modeling and computing as well as collaborating skills due to its interdisciplinary nature. Eva was a high school math teacher for 12 years before joining Clemson and she is one of the best graduate instructors with very positive teaching evaluations,” said Whitney Huang, Murphy’s adviser.

The Dr. Kenyon Fairey Annual Doctoral Fellowship Award was established by Nancy Kenyon Fairey ’71 in 2019 to provide graduate fellowships for doctoral students whose scholarship or applied research focuses on resource management, conservation, outdoor education, or health and wellness. Fairey also has seen the critical importance of having a diverse professional workforce monitoring future generations of women into the professoriate in fields where they may not be well represented.

Students are selected through a competitive review process.

Making an impact

Murphy said she is incredibly grateful for this prestigious award and believes she can make a change in the world. 

“My research has exposed me to different opportunities where I learned what impact we have as humans on climate change and how can we use statistical methods to do better. I will be striving to have my work make a difference in managing our natural resources and our natural environment for the benefit of future generations,” she said.

Murphy, who is originally from Romania, dreams of being a professor in mathematics and statistics. 

“Teaching math has always been my affection. Providing my students with a lifelong learning foundation and sparking their learning enthusiasm always brings joy to me,” she said.

The College of Science pursues excellence in scientific discovery, learning, and engagement that is both locally relevant and globally impactful. The life, physical and mathematical sciences converge to tackle some of tomorrow’s scientific challenges, and our faculty are preparing the next generation of leading scientists. The College of Science offers high-impact transformational experiences such as research, internships and study abroad to help prepare our graduates for top industries, graduate programs and health professions. 

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