Though a spam folder is often filled with junk emails, occasionally something worthwhile gets sent to it.
Such was the case with a researcher who recently won a grant from the National Science Foundation (NSF).
On Tuesday, the agency emailed University of Vermont graduate student Charlie C. Nicholson, 26, to award him a grant worth $140,000. Despite the importance of the email, Nicholson's account placed it right into the folder designated for junk and advertisement mail.
"I got a text from a friend while I was having my morning coffee," the award winner told reporters. "He said if my middle name was Casey, I'd just won an NSF grant.
"It was a moment of shock, hope and definitely skepticism. So I did something I never do -- which is check in spam."
Discovering that it was true, Nicholson was happy to find that he had won more than $140,000 to continue his research in bee pollination of blueberry crops.
"It's a huge honor," he said. "I feel more like a real member of the American scientific community.
"It's also a level of economic security I've never experienced before. It's a pay bump. I'll be eating less pizza."
The grant will ultimately allow Nicholson to continue his research for three more years, utilizing needed laboratory space and blueberry patches.
Currently, Nicholson is working on his doctoral degree in natural resources management at the University of Vermont. His primary focus is on finding out ways berry farmers can help support bee life.
"I think we can do a much better job of supporting species other than ourselves," he said.