Three UNCW Students Awarded Prestigious Hollings Scholarships

Friday, April 12, 2013

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) has announced that three University of North Carolina Wilmington students have been named 2013 Hollings Undergraduate Scholarship Recipients. The recipients with their majors are Jackie Kroeger, Marine Biology; Emma Rice, Biology; and Alexa Sterling, Marine Biology. For 2013, these prestigious awards went to a total of 126 undergraduate students from schools nationwide in a competitive process.

The Hollings Scholarships are awarded annually in honor of long time South Carolina Senator Ernest F. Hollings who served in Congress for 36 years and was instrumental in the creation of NOAA and an advocate in creating legislation designed to protect the world's oceans. The Hollings awards are given to students seeking careers in oceanic and atmospheric science, research, technology and education.

Alexa Sterling, a junior Honors College student, is presently studying the ecological effects of chemicals produced by toxic algae on marine life. She is thrilled to have received a NOAA Hollings Scholarship and feels "a lot of my experiences at UNCW have helped lead me to receiving this opportunity. As a Marine Biology major interested in research and teaching, this is one of the most important opportunities I could have been considered for as an undergraduate. I cannot wait to learn more from this experience."

In recent years, UNCW students have garnered a number of these awards, listed below with their fields of study:
2011: Matthew Birk, Ecology; Andrew Niccum, Marine and Aquatic Sciences
2010: Julienne Beblo, Marine and Aquatic Sciences
2009: Kerri Allen, Physical Sciences; Heather Page, Biological, Life, and Agricultural Sciences
2008: Sarah Fann, Marine and Aquatic Sciences
2006: Ashley Cedzo, Marine and Aquatic Sciences; Katherine Hart, Marine and Aquatic Sciences; Marian Landon, Marine and Aquatic Sciences
2005: Janie McGregor, Marine Biology; Charles White, Computer Science

According to the governmental website, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Earnest F. Hollings scholarship program is designed to:

  1. increase undergraduate training in oceanic and atmospheric science, research, technology, and education and foster multidisciplinary training opportunities;
  2. increase public understanding and support for stewardship of the ocean and atmosphere and improve environmental literacy;
  3. recruit and prepare students for public service careers with NOAA and other natural resource and science agencies at the federal, state and local levels of government; and
  4. recruit and prepare students for careers as teachers and educators in oceanic and atmospheric science and to improve scientific and environmental education in the United States.

The Hollings Scholarship Program provides successful undergraduate applicants with awards that include academic assistance (up to a maximum of $8,000 per year) for full-time study during the 9-month academic year; a 10-week, full-time internship position ($650/week) during the summer at a NOAA facility; and, if reappointed, academic assistance (up to a maximum of $8,000) for full-time study during a second 9-month academic year. The internship between the first and second years of the award provides the Scholars with "hands-on"/ practical educational training experience in NOAA-related science, research, technology, policy, management, and education activities.

Awards also include travel funds to attend a mandatory NOAA Scholarship Program orientation, conferences where students present a paper or poster, and a housing subsidy for scholars who do not reside at home during the summer internship.