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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.

Savannah Miller, a 2018 NOAA Hollings scholar, takes in the scenery while kayaking in the Sitka Sound in Sitka, Alaska, during her summer internship.
Savannah Miller, a 2018 NOAA Hollings scholar, takes in the scenery while kayaking in the Sitka Sound in Sitka, Alaska, during her summer internship. (Will Peterson)

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.


September 2019

Brianne Visaya

Brianne Visaya, a 2018 Hollings scholar, holds a Dolly Varden caught during a beach seine at a fieldwork site. She interned at the Kasitsna Bay Lab in Kachemak Bay, Alaska, in the summer of 2019.
Brianne Visaya, a 2018 Hollings scholar, holds a Dolly Varden caught during a beach seine at a fieldwork site. She interned at the Kasitsna Bay Lab in Kachemak Bay, Alaska, in the summer of 2019. (Brian Zhang and Tibor Dorsaz, University of Alaska)

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.

True Furrh

True Furrh holds a river gauge over the Toklat East Fork in Denali National Park, with the Alaska Range in the background. Furrh completed his Hollings scholar internship in Summer 2019.
True Furrh holds a river gauge over the Toklat East Fork in Denali National Park, with the Alaska Range in the background. Furrh completed his Hollings scholar internship in Summer 2019. (Karen Endres/NOAA)

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.

Ayanna Butler

2019 undergraduate scholars Jezella Peraza, Elyse Bonner, and Ayanna Butler stopped by to see NOAA Science On a Sphere in Silver Spring, Maryland. These talented and accomplished young women are part of the Educational Partnership Program with Minority Serving Institutions and interned at NOAA headquarters this summer.
2019 undergraduate scholars Jezella Peraza, Elyse Bonner, and Ayanna Butler stopped by to see NOAA Science On a Sphere in Silver Spring, Maryland. These talented and accomplished young women are part of the Educational Partnership Program with Minority Serving Institutions and interned at NOAA headquarters this summer. (Kayla do Couto/NOAA)

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!

Laura Anthony

From the left, Herbert Leavitt (2018 Hollings scholar), Kristyn Wilkerson (2019 EPP/MSI scholar), Laura Anthony (2018 Hollings scholar), and Paola Santiago (2019 EPP/MSI scholar) aboard NOAA Ship Okeanos Explorer standing in front of the ROV Deep Discoverer after its return to port from the Windows to the Deep 2019 Exploration of the Mid and South Atlantic.
From the left, Herbert Leavitt (2018 Hollings scholar), Kristyn Wilkerson (2019 EPP/MSI scholar), Laura Anthony (2018 Hollings scholar), and Paola Santiago (2019 EPP/MSI scholar) aboard NOAA Ship Okeanos Explorer standing in front of the ROV Deep Discoverer after its return to port from the Windows to the Deep 2019 Exploration of the Mid and South Atlantic. (Adrienne Copeland/NOAA Office of Ocean Exploration and Research)

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!

September 3, 2019