Each year, one outstanding high school senior competing in Florida’s statewide science fair is awarded the Skoch Scholarship, a $1,000 award given to a student who shows research promise in a coastal-related field.
This year’s winner, Kelly van Woesik, is a senior at Satellite High School in Satellite Beach.
For her award-winning project van Woesik mathematically investigated the migration patterns and environmental preferences of great white sharks in the Atlantic Ocean. To do this, she input 45 months of tracked shark data from OCEARCH into a statistical program before analyzing the results. She said data analysis involved writing 3559 lines of code.
“Being a surfer and avid swimmer, I decided to combine my curiosity of the ocean with science and computer skills to rigorously examine the roaming capacity of these amazing predators,” van Woesik said.
This fall, van Woesik will be attending the Florida Institute of Technology to pursue a bachelor’s degree in oceanography. Already a certified open water scuba diver, the incoming college freshmen hopes to begin her training as a scientific diver.
“By studying oceanography, I hope to deepen my understanding of our planet as a system of interacting processes and share my future science findings with the world,” she said.
The Skoch award is based on a student’s competition in the State Science and Engineering Fair of Florida. Funding for the scholarship is provided by the Charles Skoch family of Boynton Beach.