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Press Statement 09-002

Statement by Arden L. Bement, Jr., Director, National Science Foundation, on the Death of Dr. Jerri Nielsen FitzGerald

June 24, 2009

This material is available primarily for archival purposes. Telephone numbers or other contact information may be out of date; please see current contact information at media contacts.

We at the National Science Foundation and U.S. Antarctic Program are saddened to hear the news of the death of Dr. Jerri Nielsen FitzGerald on Tuesday, June 23, 2009.

During her time as the physician at NSF's Amundsen-Scott South Pole Station, Dr. FitzGerald was a dedicated member of the station team, and we will always be appreciative of her service to the US Antarctic Program and the scientific mission that continues there.

Dr. FitzGerald's cancer diagnosis while at the station and her subsequent evacuation in October of 1999 made her a public figure through circumstance and not through choice, yet she was able to inspire and educate others diagnosed with the disease and continue practicing medicine. We extend our sympathies to her family, colleagues and community as they mourn her loss.

NSF manages the U.S. Antarctic Program, though which it coordinates all U.S. scientific research on the southernmost continent.


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The National Science Foundation (NSF) is an independent federal agency that supports fundamental research and education across all fields of science and engineering. In fiscal year (FY) 2019, its budget is $8.1 billion. NSF funds reach all 50 states through grants to nearly 2,000 colleges, universities and other institutions. Each year, NSF receives more than 50,000 competitive proposals for funding and makes about 12,000 new funding awards.

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