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2013 Aylesworth Scholarship
Michelle Masi is pursuing a Ph.D. in marine resource assessment at the University of South Florida. For her dissertation she is developing a model that will help other researchers and government organizations such as the National Marine Fisheries Service evaluate Gulf of Mexico ecosystem based management strategies. Michelle's career goal is to teach students, youth and decision makers how to effectively sustain and restore valuable marine ecosystems for future generations.
This scholarship is presented each year to a Florida high school senior competing in the State Science and Engineering Fair who plans to major in a coastal-related field of study at a Florida university or college.
Ethan Hudgins is a senior at Satellite High School in Satellite Beach, Fla. For his winning project at the 58th State Science and Engineering Fair of Florida, he built floating plant mats to harvest nutrients from stormwater runoff, in an effort to curb decreases in water quality in the Indian River Lagoon. He plans to study environmental engineering at the University of Florida.
The Florida Outdoor Writers Association scholarship is given annually to students whose career goals are to communicate to the public a love and appreciation for hunting, fishing and other aspects of the outdoor experience.
Andrew Barbour is pursuing his doctorate in fisheries and ecology at the University of Florida. His doctoral research is on the common snook, a highly prized game fish. He is using high-tech marker capture techniques and modeling to determine how snook use mangrove habitat and the value of this habitat to their success and recruitment. He blogs for "The Drake," a national fly-fishing magazine, has contributed to two books and has had several journal articles published.
Jim Harper is a graduate student in environmental studies at Florida International University who works as a freelance writer and columnist for the "Biscayne Times." He is an avid kayaker, swim coach and local park critic. Already an award-winning journalist with one master's degree in communications from the University of Florida, his goal is to become an expert on living sustainably and in harmony alongside the water.
2012 Guy Harvey Scholarship Recipients
Felipe Carvalho, a native of Recife, Brazil, is known as a prolific publisher of peer-reviewed scientific journals, and an award-winning presenter at national and international fisheries meetings. He has earned his master’s degree in the Program of Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences at UF, and is now a doctoral student there continuing his research in blue shark stock assessments.
Sarah Stephens holds her undergraduate degree in zoology from North Carolina State University, and is now pursuing a master’s in the Program of Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences at UF. As part of her current research, she organizes Florida’s conservation tagging program for permit, one of the state’s most economically valuable recreational fisheries. The program relies on recreational anglers to report data on tag and capture locations when they land a previously marked permit, which in turn generates information that researchers use to assess fish populations and movement patterns. The research is a joint venture among UF, the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission and the Bonefish Tarpon and Trust.
Laura Habegger is a native of Argentina and holds her bachelor’s degree from the University of Buenos Aires. She completed her master’s degree from the University of South Florida studying the bite force mechanics of top predators such as bull sharks and great barracuda. Her doctoral work at USF is the first ever to study the bill mechanics and feeding adaptations in marlin, swordfish, sailfish and other pelagic predators.
Sean Bignami is pursuing a Ph.D. at the University of Miami Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science. He holds a bachelor’s degree in aquatic biology from the University of California at Santa Barbara. Bignami plans to use his Guy Harvey scholarship to further research that attempts to quantify for the first time the effects of ocean acidification on the development, growth and behavior of two popular catches of marine fish, cobia and mahi-mahi.
Kier Smith earned a bachelor’s degree in biology from Florida Atlantic University. He plans to use his award to fund his master’s work at FAU, which seeks to reduce the incidental catch of sharks and rays in long line commercial fisheries. Previous research has shown that fishing hooks treated with rare-earth metals react in saltwater and produce a stimulus that a shark’s peculiar electrosensory system can detect and avoid. The high cost of the metals, however, makes use of the hooks unfeasible. Smith and his research professor have received a preliminary patent on a technique they think mimics the deterrent properties of rare-earth metals in a more cost-effective way. In essence, the hook is treated with a mix of zinc and graphite, which, when immersed in saltwater, becomes essentially a battery, producing an electric stimulus that repulses sharks.
2012 Florida Sea Grant Scholars Program
Austin Gallagher is pursuing a Ph.D. in ecosystems at the University of Miami. He is investigating the social perceptions of the risks association with recreational shark fishing in southern Florida.
Evan Ged is pursuing an M.S. in environmental engineering at the University of Florida. He is conducting a case study on sea-level rise, saltwater intrusion and future health risks of drinking water in Cedar Key, Fla.
Mark Ladd is pursuing a Ph.D. in biology at Florida International University. He is examining the direct and indirect effects of outplanting variable densities of the threatened staghorn coral in an effort to restore coral reefs in south Florida.
Laura Bhatti is pursuing a Ph.D. in biology at Florida International University. She is studying the effect of no-take marine protected areas on the trophic ecology of coral reef fish.
Yogesh Khare is a Ph.D. in agricultural and biological engineering at the University of Florida. He is using global sensitivity and uncertainty analyses for the evaluation of a spatially distributed watershed-scale model for Florida.
Dean John A. Knauss Marine Policy Fellowship
These individuals will serve as 2013 Knauss fellows:
Tara Dolan is pursuing an M.S. in marine affairs and policy at the University of Miami’s Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Sciences. Her education has taken her all over the world, from China to the Galapagos, teaching her the importance of incorporating human dimensions into marine policy. Tara says she has learned much about U.S. environmental policy through her thesis, a case study of a nuclear power plant’s history of operation on the shores of a national park. Her career goal is to foster stronger communication and exchange between science and policy. Tara's fellowship is in the Executive Branch. She is working as an ecosystem and fisheries science coordinator in the NOAA Office of Science and Technology.
Alana Smentek-Duerr is a Ph.D. student in ocean engineering at Florida Atlantic University. She holds a B.S. in naval architecture and marine engineering from Webb Institute. Alana’s undergraduate and graduate research has focused on offshore renewable energy. For the past three years, she has studied the hydrokinetic resource potential of the Florida ocean current. Alana’s unique experiences and expertise in regard to alternative ocean energy, are also an emerging focus by federal agencies concerned with energy policy. Her fellowship is in the Executive Branch. She is working as an offshore wind power technology specialist with the Department of Energy's Wind and Water Power Programs.
Erica Ombres is a Ph.D. candidate in the University of South Florida’s College of Marine Science. A 2010 research trip to the waters of the Western Antarctic Peninsula inspired Ombres to study over-wintering strategies of Antarctic krill for her doctoral research. She was able to travel to the Antarctic again with a National Science Foundation funded research cruise to collect samples for her Ph.D. research. Erica is heavily involved in her community and dreams of building a bridge between science, society and policy throughout her career. Her fellowship is in the Executive Branch. She is working in the NOAA Office of Oceanic and Atmospheric Research's Ocean Acidification Program.
Rachel Silverstein is pursuing a Ph.D. at the University of Miami’s Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Sciences. Rachel has a solid research program dealing with coral symbionts and an outstanding array of extracurricular experiences. While earning her degree at Columbia and working on her Ph.D., she worked actively with the Clinton Global Initiative, published two papers in leading journals, published a letter to the editor in SCIENCE, and worked on over-fishing issues in Biscayne Bay. Rachel also holds a National Science Foundation Fellowship. Her Knauss fellowship is in the Legislative Branch. She is working with the majority staff in the Senate's Oceans, Atmosphere, Fisheries and Coast Guard Subcommittee.