Skip to Content

National Fellowships and Scholar Programs

University of South Carolina Top 3 Producer in Nation for Hollings Scholars

Seven rising juniors at the University of South Carolina have been chosen as 2014 Ernest F. Hollings Undergraduate Scholars. This year's recipients, Riley Brady, Alicia Cheripka, Charlotte Eckmann, Chandler Green, Suneil Iyer, Kelly McCabe, and Ariane Robbins, bring the total number of USC Hollings Scholars to 25 over the nine years of this national competition, with 12 won in the past three years alone. This is the largest number of Hollings Scholar's that USC has received in a single year and places the University in the top three Hollings Scholars producers of colleges and universities nationwide.

Participation in the Hollings Scholarship Program exposes rising juniors and seniors to the mission of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and to our nation's long history of oceanic and atmospheric stewardship, reflected in the dedicated career of retired South Carolina Senator Ernest F. Hollings. Hollings Scholars are expected to become scientists, policy-makers, or educators in the future US oceanic and atmospheric workforce. The class of 2014 Hollings Scholars includes 106 students from across the country. 

Brady is a McNair Scholar and a member of the South Carolina Honors College, double majoring in Marine Science and German. A recipient of the David Odom Scholarship, he was also named an Elks National Foundation Scholar. Last summer, he completed an internship with the fisheries ecology lab at University of North Carolina Institute of Marine Science, and currently conducts part-time research investigating the effect of climate change on crucial ocean processes. Brady is a member of the Beta Theta Pi fraternity, a Magellan Ambassador, and co-founder of Walk Home Cocky. He plans to earn a PhD in physical oceanography. 

Cheripka is founder and president of the Wildlife Association at the University. A Woodrow Scholar, she is a member of the Lady Gamecock Division I swim team and a volunteer at the South Carolina ASPCA animal shelter. Cheripka complements her major program of study in Marine Science serving as a lab assistant for Dr. Jay Pinckney. Ultimately, she aims to work on coral reef conservation focusing on invasive species management. 

Eckmann is a McNair Scholar and a member of the South Carolina Honors College. With her strong interest in Marine Science, she is a member of SEAS (Students Engaged in Aquatic Science) and a volunteer in Dr. Sean Norman's Microbial Ecology Lab. Eckmann is a founding member of Carolina Rotaract. She spent last summer interning with the Benthic Ecology Program at Mote Marine Lab. Her future plans are to complete graduate studies in biological oceanography. 

Green is a Capstone Scholar who received both the Magellan Apprentice and Voyager Awards. Last summer, she researched and filmed a documentary in Iceland, which she presented at the 2014 National Conference for Undergraduate Research. An Environmental Science major, she is a Capstone Ambassador as well as a videographer for Carolinas Integrated Sciences Assessments and volunteer with the Conservation Voters of S.C. Green plans to pursue a career in science communication and filming documentaries. 

Iyer is a Marine Science and Geology double major in the South Carolina Honors College. A recipient of the USC Marine Science Departmental Scholarship, he is active with the SEAS (Students Engaged in Aquatic Science). Iyer works on an undergraduate research project involving tidal propagation up rivers with Dr. Alexander Yankovsky. He plans to attend graduate school and research physical oceanography or coastal geology. 

McCabe is a recipient of the Baruch Institute Undergraduate Scholarship in Marine Science and the Marine Technology Society Scholarship. She is a Marine Science major, and is interested in the field of chemical oceanography. She is a research assistant in Dr. Claudia Benitez-Nelson's Biogeochemistry Laboratory, and assisted in the reconstruction of the University's marine science classroom and wet laboratories. Outside of class, McCabe is active with Relay for Life, Boo at the Zoo with Riverbanks Zoo, intramural beach and indoor volleyball, and is secretary of SEAS (Students Engaged in Aquatic Science). 

Robbins is a member of the South Carolina Honors College in the Baccalaureus Artium et Scientiae degree program with a focus on Urban Ecology. A recipient of the Cooper Scholar Award, she is also an intern for Sustainable Carolina's Food Independence Team, the co-president of the Real Food Challenge at USC, Vice President for SAGE (Students Advocating a Greener Environment), and Faculty Event Coordinator for the Honors Council. She hosts a radio show for WUSC, the student-run radio station. She plans to work in sustainable urban planning after her studies. 

Hollings Scholars study a variety of disciplines including biological, life, and agricultural sciences; physical sciences; mathematics; engineering; computer and information sciences; social and behavioral science; and teacher education. The scholarship provides up to $8,000 of academic assistance per school year for full-time study during the junior and senior years. A required, 10-week, paid ($650/week) summer internship including travel and living expenses is also included. 

Hollings Scholars were assisted by Dr. Claudia-Benitez Nelson, advisor for this scholarship and Director of the Marine Science Program, with a joint appointment in the Department of Earth and Ocean Sciences in the School of Earth, Ocean and Environment. Dr. Benitez-Nelson stated that, "the Hollings Scholarship is one of the top honors that an undergraduate majoring in Marine or Environmental Science can receive, and highlights the outstanding students within School of the Earth, Ocean, & Environment here at USC." Hollings Scholars were also aided by the University's Office of Fellowships & Scholar Programs ( Carolina students interested in applying for national fellowships are encouraged to contact the office for assistance.

Challenge the conventional. Create the exceptional. No Limits.