Photo story: Explore NOAA scholarships as undergraduates #TakeoverTuesday
The 2018 NOAA undergraduate scholars recently completed their summer internships at NOAA facilities across the country. Now, it’s their turn to tell the world about life as a NOAA scholar! Journey with us as these scholars take over our social media channels to share highlights from their research experiences. Check back throughout the 2020 application season for new posts on this #TakeoverTuesday collection.
Ernest F. Hollings undergraduate scholars and Educational Partnership Program with Minority Serving Institutions (EPP/MSI) undergraduate scholars choose an opportunity at a NOAA facility for a 10-week summer internship. Learn about our scholarships through the eyes of our scholars as they share personal accounts from their research with NOAA.
Applications are open from September 1, 2019, through January 31, 2020. For more information and to apply, please visit the Hollings and EPP/MSI Undergraduate Scholarship frequently asked questions. Stay up to date with scholarship news by following NOAA Education on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.
My name is Savannah Weber, and I completed my NOAA Hollings summer internship at the Apalachicola National Estuarine Research Reserveoffsite link in Apalachicola, Florida! I chose this particular internship because I wanted to gain field work experience and assist with a variety of research projects. I helped my mentor conduct her sea turtle research on nest incubation temperatures and learned how to identify sea turtle tracks, locate egg clutches, and conduct hatch successes to determine the success of the nest. I also helped with fishery trawling, water nutrient sampling, data logger placement, oyster monitoring, and zooplankton collection and preservation. Ultimately, I chose to focus my Hollings project on the long-term fishery trawling monitoring project. By analyzing past data, I looked at the distribution and abundance of white shrimp in the Apalachicola Bay to understand how different environmental factors can affect a population. Besides assisting with so many different field work opportunities and networking with research scientists, one of my favorite parts of the internship experience was presenting at the NOAA Student Symposium at headquarters in Silver Spring, Maryland. Not only was it a unique experience to share my findings, but I gained a lot of insight on other ecological research projects that scientists are doing all over the country! I absolutely loved every second of the internship. Thanks to the Hollings program, I now know without a doubt that I want to pursue a career in marine ecological research — and I now have the experience and skills to do it!
Hello everyone! I’m Nicholas Johnson, a 2018 NOAA Hollings scholar, here for #TakeoverTuesday. Last summer I had the opportunity to join scientists at the NOAA Atlantic Oceanographic and Meteorological Laboratory Hurricane Research Division in Miami, Florida, developing visualizations for data collected by the NOAA Hurricane Hunters. Each year during hurricane season, scientists fly aboard NOAA WP-3D aircraft into tropical cyclones for research and forecasting purposes. My summer project focused on developing visualizations for data collected by the various instruments on the aircraft which are used for enhancing our understanding of storm properties and provide better forecasts to the community. The highlight of my internship was being able to fly on one of the field program missions into Tropical Storm Barry. Watching the sunrise while soaring above the storm was one of the most breathtaking experiences in my life. This summer I gained the “hurricane fix,” and my experience has inspired me to continue researching tropical cyclones.
Hi there! I'm Amy Li, a 2018 Hollings scholar currently studying environmental science and public policy at Harvard University. For my internship, I worked at the NOAA Fisheries Pacific Islands Regional Office, looking at the application of Unmanned Aerial Systems for studying coral reefs. Our field site was Kaneohe Bay on the island of Oahu and one of my favorite parts of the internship was definitely the days spent doing fieldwork. Accessing our launch site entailed sailing out to the middle of the bay, anchoring on a sandbar, and preparing our drone for takeoff. Through my project, which utilized drone and other aerial imagery to map and study areas of coral bleaching, I learned remote sensing, image analysis, and GIS skills. Ultimately, I was able to quantify coral bleaching at larger and faster scales than traditional measurement methods. I also met so many amazing NOAA scientists and fellow interns who all contributed to an incredible summer. This experience helped broaden what I thought a career in science could be, as well as the interdisciplinary nature of the work NOAA does.
Aloha! My name is Mark Haver, and I am a NOAA Hollings scholar, class of 2018. My summer internship was spent in Honolulu, Hawaii, with the Papahanaumokuakea Marine National Monument. Here I am with fellow Hollings scholars Sarah Glover, Madison Pickett, Mia Silverberg, and Jen Magi on our very first day working at the Daniel K. Inouye Regional Center in Pearl Harbor. During my internship, I was able to share what makes Papahanaumokuakea so special with the public at events like World Ocean Day at Ko Olina Beach Park. Sharing my passion for protecting ocean biodiversity with others allowed them too to become impassioned. Beyond volunteer outreach events, I assisted in coordinating a communications plan for anniversaries related to the Monument in 2020: the 20th anniversary of the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands Coral Reef Ecosystem Reserve and the 10th anniversary of the Monument's UNESCO designation as a Mixed World Heritage Site. My favorite project of the summer was drafting a Sanctuaries Conservation Series paper on the viability of translocation as an effective conservation strategy for wildlife threatened by sea level rise. I have never experienced such fulfilling work in my life, and I am incredibly appreciative that the Hollings Scholarship was able to provide me with this incredible opportunity.
Hello! I’m Stephanie Letourneau, a 2018 Hollings scholar currently studying at Juniata College in Huntingdon, Pennsylvania. I had the opportunity to work at the Chesapeake Bay National Estuarine Research Reserveoffsite link (CBNERR) on the campus of the Virginia Institute of Marine Science. This experience allowed me to explore my interests in research and outreach by working with both the education and the stewardship teams. For my project, “Digital vs. traditional learning: Mitigating marshes against sea level rise,” I created a lesson plan based on the current NERRs thin-layer placement project and made a digital version using ESRI story map. Then, I piloted both formats with students and received evaluations from teachers. My internship provided me new experiences in science education, field research and monitoring techniques in marshes, and a new understanding of the Chesapeake Bay ecosystem. I am continuing my work with CBNERR Virginia while I am at school, and I am excited to learn more about opportunities where I can pursue my passion to be a scientist who actively engages in education. Thank you so much to the Hollings Scholarship Program for helping me learn more about my career options!
Hi! My name is Devin Robichaux and I am a member of the Ernest F. Hollings Scholarship class of 2018. I am currently a senior at Seattle University, studying civil and environmental engineering. I spent this past summer in Seattle, Washington, researching fall-run Chinook salmon and where they come from. These fish hatch in freshwater, spend up to four years at sea, and then migrate back to the same streams and rivers where they hatched to spawn as adults. A common approach for identifying the origin of salmon relies upon chemical tracers (i.e., isotopes) from the environment that are incorporated onto their otoliths, or “ear bones”. The abundance of certain isotopes differs among habitats and thus can be used as a ‘finger-print’ to tell where an individual resided. However, evidence exists that at hatching the isotope values in the otolith are influenced by the isotope value in the yolk-sac of a developing embryo, and not solely by the environment. The purpose of my research is to identify when in the life of a developing fish does its otolith acquire isotopes from the environment in order to accurately estimate where fall Chinook salmon hatch. This photo is of Emily Tolimieri and me collecting samples in the San Juan Islands.
Hey there! My name is Raien Emery and I am a class of 2018 Hollings scholar. During the school year, I study environmental science at the University at Alabama and work in forest ecology research. However, this past summer I delved into the completely different culture of salmon research! I split my internship between coastal Oregon and Seattle, Washington, involved with each step of the research process. I spent the first month conducting field work on a fifty-foot boat catching and tagging salmon. I transitioned to lab work for the second half of the summer, preparing otoliths (small fish bones beneath the brain) and running samples through an inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometer. The ultimate goal of the project was to correlate ocean entry timing with growth of Pacific salmon, and having the chance to immediately present our results at the NOAA student symposium in D.C. was beyond gratifying. Along the way, I connected with incredible and inspiring people, interacted with news crews from Canadian Broadcasting and The Seattle Times, and experienced the Pacific Northwest from sea to city. This internship was an ideal opportunity to develop as both a scientist and a person. If I wasn’t sure research was for me before this internship, I definitely know it is now!
Osiyo and hello! My name is Annalise Guthrie (second from the right), class of 2018 EPP/MSI scholar and also a citizen of Cherokee Nation. As an indigenous person who also attends a tribal university (Haskell Indian Nations University in Lawrence, Kansas), it has always been a priority of mine to find ways to promote tribal resiliency within the field of environmental science. My second summer as a NOAA scholar, I got the opportunity to do just that while working with the Kachemak Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve in Homer, Alaska. The reserve is straight across the bay from the Seldovia Village Tribe. The Seldovia Village Tribe and the reserve wanted to collaborate more on environmental monitoring projects and create more educational opportunities for residents. I assisted in facilitating these efforts and created tools that would be helpful to new collaborations. Additionally, I assisted in harmful algal bloom and invasive species monitoring, clam surveys, and nearshore fish community research. Oh, and did I mention I took a ride on that really tiny plane to check out some grizzly bears? If you’re looking for an undergraduate scholarship, this is one you don’t want to pass up — applications are due January 31, 2020!
Hi! I’m Carina Burroughs, a NOAA Hollings scholar currently studying at the University of Miami. This summer, I worked as a Hollings intern for Papahānaumokuākea Marine National Monument in Hawaii, focusing on sharing the science and stories of the monument with the world. Working with the staff of Mokupāpapa Discovery Center in Hilo, I developed written and multimedia content distilling scientific information, illuminating threats to the monument ecosystems, and highlighting other important knowledge. I also developed a new curriculum for the education team and worked with visitors and school groups. My work this summer supported and expanded upon efforts to share the monument and foster public connection to Papahānaumokuākea. It also furthered my interest in connecting people outside of the scientific community to the field! Being a NOAA Hollings scholar has been an incredible opportunity, and I greatly encourage interested students to apply!
Hi, everyone! I’m Melissa Piper, a 2018 NOAA Hollings scholar and a senior in meteorology at Iowa State University. This past summer I conducted my internship at the National Weather Service (NWS) in Louisville, Kentucky, where I analyzed dual-pol digital precipitation rate data for heavy rainfall events in central Kentucky and southern Indiana to determine critical rainfall rates for flash flooding in vulnerable areas. To do this, I had to develop and enhance my skills in GIS and analyzing radar imagery. The skills I gained from my Hollings internship will help me greatly in graduate school and in my career!
My time at NWS Louisville wasn’t just work though, a lot of excitement was involved! Whenever there was a severe weather event, the forecasters made sure to include me in severe weather operations. Over the summer, I issued flash flood warnings and severe weather statements, called 911 dispatchers about local storm reports, and monitored social media. One day, the Meteorologist in Charge drove me and fellow Hollings scholar Kristine Chen to the Louisville radar (KLVX) and we got to climb inside the radar dome! I would never have had these opportunities if I had not been selected as a Hollings scholar..
If you’re thinking about applying for NOAA’s Hollings Scholarship program – do it! It’s a life-changing opportunity that you will never regret.
Hello! My name is Bobbi Bevacqua and I spent summer 2019 at the Milford Laboratory helping the GoPro team investigate how fish are using shellfish aquaculture gear in Long Island Sound. In addition to helping in the field on the Research Vessel Victor Loosanoff, I took a closer look at videos from 2018 to see if we could detect a relationship between oyster harvesting sound and fish abundance. This experience was a great way to apply my creativity and problem solving skills when developing a reliable methodology, as well as sharpen and apply my “R” and statistical skills, all while immersing myself in an unfamiliar ecosystem surrounded by wonderful NOAA employees. This scholarship gave me an opportunity to grow my independence and confidence in general by challenging me to form my own connections within NOAA and seek my own housing to ultimately live alone in an unfamiliar town. Here is a picture of me taken by my mentor, Renee Mercaldo-Allen, on the Loosanoff, holding a spider crab that was hitchhiking on one of our oyster cages in August 2019. The second photo was taken by fellow Hollings scholar Rachel So and shows me crouching on deck waiting to put a quadrat on an oyster cage so that we can quantify what types of algae and other creatures are growing on the cages.
I’m Kayla Rexroth, a NOAA Hollings scholar class of 2020 and biology major with minors in earth science and chemistry at Salisbury University. I interned at the Wells National Estuarine Research Reserve this past summer in Southern Maine. Under the mentorship of Jason Goldstein, I worked on detecting and measuring the amounts of eDNA (environmental DNA) that green crabs emit into the surrounding water column and underlying sediment. My work days consisted of a perfect balance between field and lab work. Some days I was able to spend out on the water deploying crab traps while others were spent in the lab setting up my experiment. This experience helped me gain confidence in research as well as knowledge in lab and field skills. I have also gained so many connections through this experience and now have more confidence as I approach the application process for graduate school. The Hollings Scholarship application process may be a little daunting at first, but I can promise you the experience is totally worth it!
Hola from Puerto Rico! My name is Paola Santiago, a class of 2019 EPP/MSI scholar and a biology undergrad from the University of Puerto Rico, Rio Piedras. Did you know that less than ten percent of the deep ocean has been explored? This past summer I interned at NOAA’s Office of Ocean Exploration and Research at NOAA headquarters in Silver Spring, Maryland. I studied the spatial distribution of the deep sea coral Lophelia pertusa in the Southeast region of the U.S. In the deep ocean, the presence of this coral is important due to its stony structure, which contributes to the formation of huge mounds, creating deep sea coral reefs. I used bathymetry data collected from past expeditions and worked with live data feed coming from the NOAA Ship Okeanos Explorer and dives made from remotely operated vehicles. I had the privilege to meet many incredible scientists that make the vessel expeditions possible. I also observed live feed from the Windows to the Deep 2019 expedition, where samples were taken during the expedition, and had the opportunity to tour the vessel. In addition, I had the opportunity to travel aboard the NOAA Ship Pisces fisheries survey vessel, attend Capitol Hill Ocean Week, and present my project to the Office of Ocean Exploration Advisory Board. All these experiences further inspired me to pursue graduate studies in oceanography where my research will focus on species distribution and deep sea exploration. This summer internship has been, without a doubt, an extraordinary experience. In the world of deep ocean exploration, there is still a lot to be explored — are you ready to apply to the EPP/MSI undergraduate scholarship and help explore the other 90 percent?
Can you say ocean acidification five times fast? My name is Laura Anderson and I spent this past summer working with the NOAA Ocean Acidification Program (OAP) in Silver Spring, Maryland. My project focused on communicating science to Congress, so being a short metro ride away from downtown Washington, D.C., was perfect! Throughout the summer, I got a chance to create materials for a Congressional audience, develop my writing and graphic design skills, get to know the incredible folks at the OAP, and learn from communication and policy experts. I’m hoping to present my results at the American Geophysical Union Ocean Sciences and American Association for the Advancement of Science meetings next February (thanks for the conference funding, Hollings Scholarship!) and will apply the lessons I learned this summer to a master’s degree in environmental communication. I actually only learned about the Hollings Scholarship program a few weeks before the application deadline — so grateful that I was able to apply and have this amazing experience!
I’m Brooke Travis, and I’m here to say that my internship in Seattle, Washington, with NOAA’s Hollings Scholarship was the best summer experience I have ever had! I collaborated with the United States Geological Survey (USGS) and NOAA to develop two new molecular assays for Nuclear Inclusion X (NIX), an infectious disease in razor clams. I've mastered DNA extractions, qPCR, and regular PCR (all important lab techniques of molecular biology), and even dabbled in histology. I came out of this internship prepped for graduate school and excited to continue adding new scientific knowledge to the books. The mentors all want to see you succeed and the friends you make will be friends for life. Apply for the Hollings Scholarship! It's an experience you won't forget.
Hi everyone and welcome to #TakeoverTuesday! I'm Brianne Visaya, a class of 2018 NOAA Hollings scholar and civil and environmental engineering undergraduate at San Jose State University. I'm also a community college transfer student from Los Medanos College! This summer, I had an amazing opportunity to work at the Kasitsna Bay Lab in Kachemak Bay, Alaska. During my internship, I conducted coastal margins fieldwork, took part in physical oceanography surveys, monitored black oystercatcher populations, and so much more with teams and organizations around the area. My research focused on creating Esri story maps on benthic habitat mapping, sea star wasting syndrome, fjords, and research studied in Kachemak Bay. These story maps were developed as initial tools to communicate about the Bay’s ecosystem and the changes it is experiencing. I'm so grateful to the NOAA Hollings Scholarship Program and my mentor, Kris Holderied, for fostering the opportunity to explore Alaska's wilderness.
Hi, y'all! I'm True Furrh, a 2018 NOAA Hollings scholar studying environmental sciences and civil engineering at the University of Houston (Go Coogs!). Growing up in coastal Texas, my life has been shaped by storms and flooding from Hurricanes Ike and Harvey, and seasonal riverine events, so working on a flood modeling project was a perfect fit. I interned at the National Weather Service Fairbanks Weather Forecast Office in Interior Alaska and ran computer models to predict small-scale flooding from the Chena and Tanana Rivers. I primarily used ArcGIS and HEC-RAS, two software programs used to analyze geographic information, but also got the chance to look through historical flood events in the region and talk with local emergency managers. The highlight of my summer was installing a few river gauges in Denali National Park with my mentor, Karen Endres, Senior Service Hydrologist for the Fairbanks Weather Forecast Office, and Ed Plumb, Warning Coordination Meteorologist. Combining my personal flooding experiences with an applied research experience made for an incredible summer, and living in Alaska was a dream come true. Sophomores, I can't encourage you enough to apply for the Hollings Scholarship — start your application now! It will change your life, and it reaffirmed my desire to attain a graduate degree and pursue federal employment or another applied research position.
I’m Ayanna Butler, here for the first day of #TakeoverTuesday! Through NOAA’s Educational Partnership Program with Minority Serving Institutions (EPP/MSI) undergraduate scholarship program, I had the opportunity to intern with NOAA’s Satellite and Information Service (NESDIS) at their Environmental Visualization Lab (VizLab) in Silver Spring, Maryland, this past summer. At the VizLab I learned about satellite imagery and the importance of data collection by using the NOAA GeoPlatformoffsite link, a tool that provides geospatial data, maps, and analytics in support of NOAA’s mission. I also cultivated many relationships during my time at NOAA! I made connections with people who have presented me with graduate school opportunities as well as opportunities for the rest of my school year. After interning this summer I have decided to pursue a master’s and Ph.D. in environmental science. If you’re interested in this scholarship opportunity, I encourage you to apply. The connections you will make will last a lifetime!
Didn’t think looking for trash could be exciting? Think again! I’m Laura Anthony (second from the right), a 2018 Hollings scholar and a marine biology major at Western Washington University. Physically, I spent this summer in Silver Spring, Maryland, at NOAA headquarters, but mentally I was immersed 1,000 meters under the Atlantic! With the help of the trusty remotely operated vehicle (ROV), Deep Discoverer, and the amazing Deep Sea Coral Research and Technology Program team, I looked through images and videos of deep-sea corals and sponges to find evidence of human impacts (yes, mainly trash). Though it was disheartening to see balloons entangled in these beautiful organisms, I am comforted by the fact that my images and data will go to the public to show us that our trash does not just disappear. My internship opened the door to several opportunities, such as touring the Okeanos Explorer with fellow interns, and even being invited on a deep-sea coral and sponge ROV habitat survey in the Olympic Coast National Marine Sanctuary. My favorite part of the internship, besides working with my amazing mentor Heather Coleman, was spending time watching the live video stream from the Okeanos in the Exploration Command Center in Silver Spring. I witnessed stretching fields of deep-sea corals (check out the author on that link!) and even a shark feeding frenzy after a dead swordfish fell to the seafloor! I am currently applying to graduate programs in deep-sea coral biology, so you could say my path to study deep-sea corals was brilliantly illuminated by Deep Discoverer!