UNCW Students Awarded $110,000 by U.S. Coastal Research Program

Thursday, August 15, 2019

UNCW graduate students Kelsey Beachman, Mariko Polk ’15 and Mackenzie Taggart are the recipients of a $110,000 grant from the U.S. Coastal Research Program Student Challenge Competition. The students’ proposal is one of 21 in the nation selected for funding from an original pool of 250 solicitations.

Their project “Multidisciplinary quantification of biogeomorphological impacts of living shorelines,” aims to address the degradation and loss of coastal habitats and the respective ecosystem functions and services that face increasing natural and anthropogenic pressures.

Beachman is pursuing a master’s in environmental studies and Taggart a master’s in marine science. Polk, who holds a master’s in environmental studies from UNCW, is currently pursuing a Ph.D. in marine biology.

Devon Eulie, assistant professor and graduate program coordinator in the UNCW Department of Environmental Sciences, and Martin Posey, professor in the UNCW Department of Biology and Marine Biology, served as faculty advisors on the project.

"It’s an honor to serve as an advisor to these exemplary students,” said Eulie. “What they have accomplished in receiving this award represents the type of student-driven learning that I think all faculty aim for. In many ways their multi-program, interdisciplinary project is comparable to work of established faculty, and can serve as a demonstration to other students regarding what they are capable of accomplishing."

Echoing Eulie’s comments, Posey said that the award reflects the applied learning experience that is central to UNCW, as emphasized in the university’s Strategic Plan.

The USCRP is a coordinated effort backed by researchers from federal agencies, academia, industry and various organizations to address societal needs along America’s shores.

-- Caroline Cropp