UNCW Undergraduates Earn Most NOAA Hollings Scholarships of Any School in the Country

Friday, April 08, 2016

Nine current sophomores and three UNCW alumni and are the recipients of prestigious financial awards from the National Science Foundation (NSF) and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). Collectively, the awards represent an annual investment of more than $300,000.

UNCW had more recipients of the NOAA Ernest F. Hollings Undergraduate Scholarship than any other university in the country. The nine UNCW sophomores selected were among 125 recipients recognized nationwide. They are: Sarah Brewster, marine biology; Colleen Brown, marine biology and biological oceanography: Maya Drzewicki, marine biology; Jamie Knaub, marine biology; Christina Makris, chemistry; Maxwell Mattejat, chemistry; Michael Miller, chemistry; Mallory Munden, marine biology; and Natalie Panasiak, marine biology.

“Not only are these young scientists passionate about marine science and environmental education, they are provided unique opportunities at UNCW to develop their research skills,” said Kate Bruce, a professor of psychology and director of the Honors College and the Center for Support of Undergraduate Research and Fellowships (CSURF).

Congress established the scholarship program in honor of former U.S. Sen. Ernest F. “Fritz” Hollings, D-S.C., who served from 1966-2005. The scholarship pays for two academic years of full-time study, up to $9,500 per year, as well as 10-week paid summer internship at a NOAA or partner facility. The internship program also covers travel costs and a housing subsidy.

Alumni Megan Ennes ’06, ’11M, Jack Koch ’15 and Bridgette Drummond ’13 were each awarded a National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship. Ennes, who is now studying at N.C. State University, received a fellowship for science education. Koch, who is in the graduate program the University of Oregon, received a fellowship in the area of environmental biology. Drummond is pursuing her graduate degree at the University of Notre Dame and was awarded a fellowship in developmental biology. All three conducted undergraduate research at UNCW.

“It is so rewarding to see the accomplishments of our UNCW undergraduates who excel in graduate school; they are well prepared by the dedicated faculty at UNCW,” Bruce said. “Many of our UNCW faculty note that research mentoring is their best and most rewarding undergraduate teaching, and having their students receive recognition such as the NSF Graduate Fellowship is proof.”

The NSF fellowship recognizes outstanding graduate students who are pursuing research-based master’s and doctoral degrees in science, technology, engineering and math. They are deemed to have potential to make significant contributions to research, teaching and innovation in science and engineering. The NSF awarded 2,000 fellowships from a pool of more than 17,000 applications this year.

NSF fellows receive a three-year annual stipend of $34,000 and up to $12,000 for tuition and fees. The fellowship also provides opportunities for international research and professional development, and the freedom to conduct research at any accredited U.S. graduate institution.

Alexa Sterling ’15 received an honorable mention for the NSF fellowship in the category of biological oceanography. She is studying at the University of Rhode Island.

Junior marine biology major Amelia Johnson received an honorable mention for the Goldwater Scholarship, given to outstanding undergraduate students who want to pursue research careers in mathematics, the sciences or engineering.

--Tricia Vance

#Honors College