Bee Scientist Finds $140K Email—in His Spam Folder

The National Science Foundation award for Charlie C. Nicholson was actually real
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 2, 2015 2:28 PM CDT
Updated Apr 5, 2015 11:36 AM CDT
Bee Scientist Finds $140K Email—in His Spam Folder
Check yours now—you never know.   (Shutterstock)

Maybe you should open up that next "Lucky Winner!" email you get and not automatically dump it in the trash. Because for University of Vermont researcher Charlie C. Nicholson, his spam folder turned out to hold more than the usual dream-job and porn messages. On Tuesday, the National Science Foundation announced its annual divvying-up of graduate research grants worth nearly $140,000 each, and it turns out the 26-year-old doctoral student was one of the recipients—except he had no clue, because the email from the NSF had gone right to spam, the Burlington Free Press reports. "I started getting cryptic texts from friends," Nicholson says, per a UVM press release. "At first, I had no clue what they were talking about. Then a friend who didn't know my middle name texted: 'If your full name is Charles Casey Nicholson, you just won an NSF [grant]."

It is, and he had. Nicholson checked his spam folder and there was the cheerful NSF missive announcing his award. The money—about $100,000 to him, $36,000 as an allowance to the school—will go toward three more years of his project studying the pollination of blueberry crops by native bees, the Press notes. He'll also be able to have a real meal now and then. "It's a pay bump. I'll be eating less pizza," he tells the paper. And the good luck keeps on buzzing: While he was on the NSF website, he noticed that his friend and UVM colleague Samantha Alger had won some cash of her own. He was the one who texted her to fill her in, per the Press. (Read another wild email story involving a smuggled cellphone and an "ingenious" scheme.)

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