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National Fellowships and Scholar Programs

USC Top Producer in Nation for Holling Scholars

Nine rising juniors at the University of South Carolina have been chosen as 2015 Ernest F. Hollings Undergraduate Scholars. This year's recipients, Kaitlyn Bretz, Jamie Clark, Justin DuRant, Melaina Dyck, Jory Fleming, Alexandra Golden, Phillip Key, Angela Korabik, and Anna Lynn, bring the total number of USC Hollings Scholars to 34 over the 11 years of this national competition, with 16 won in the past two years alone. This is the largest number of Hollings Scholar's that USC has ever received in a single year and makes the University one of the top Hollings Scholars producer 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.

Bretz is a member of the South Carolina Honors College, majoring in Environmental Science. A recipient of the Alumni Scholars Award, she is also a Magellan Scholar researching with Dr. Mousseau's lab. Additionally, she is doing research with Dr. Pournelle in the Sealands Sustainability and Environment Program. Bretz is involved with the Honors Council, and is a member of the Beta Beta Beta Honors Biological Society. She plans a career as an environmental scientist, with a strong interest in international conservation.

Clark is a Marine Science major in the College of Arts and Sciences. She is the recipient of the Maryland Saltwater Sportfishing Association Scholarship (2013-2014) and the 2013 Marine Technology Society Scholarship. She is a research assistant in Dr. Lori Ziolkowski's lab, performing alkane extractions on different types of leaves and doing comparative analysis of the results. Clark is a Resident Mentor in Green Quad, the Vice President of SEAS, and an active member of both Scuba Club and Carolina Service Council. She plans a career as a marine scientist with a focus on cephalopods.

DuRant is a member of the South Carolina Honors College, pursuing both a BS in Biological Sciences and a BM in Performance, Organ Emphasis. The recipient of the Palmetto Fellowship Scholarship and the Music Scholarship, he is both a Lieber Scholar and a Dean's Scholar. DuRant has placed first in three organ competitions: the 2013 Columbia AGO Young Organist Competition, the 2013 Rodgers North American Classical Organ Competition, and the 2012 ECU competition for pre-college organists. He currently conducts research on butterfly population dynamics in Dr. Carol Bogg's laboratory. DuRant is considering a career as a professor and continuing ecological research, but is also interested in leading a corporate or community sustainability program.

Dyck is an Environmental Science major and a member of the South Carolina Honors College. The recipient of the Lieber and Cooper Scholarships, she is also a George Watts Hill National Merit Scholar and was awarded the UNC Hospitals Junior Volunteering Scholarship. Her undergraduate research work is under Dr. Jennifer Pournelle on the Sealands Project. On campus, she sings with the Grad Vocal Ensemble, and coordinates volunteers for Amigos del Buen Samaritano club. She looks forward to studying abroad in Chile this fall. Dyck plans to pursue a career in environmental social justice and sustainable development.

Fleming is a Capstone Scholar who is double majoring in Marine Science and Geography. The recipient of the Palmetto Fellows and Dean's Scholarships, he has also received the Incight Disability Scholarship and the South Carolina Wildlife Federation Scholarship. His research has been funded by a Magellan Apprentice grant, and includes work at the Beach and Dune Processes Lab, and the Phytoplankton Ecology Research lab. He has utilized his GIS skills interning with Beitz and Daigh Geographics, and now with McEntire JNGB. Fleming is a member of SEAS, where he was recently elected to Education Outreach Coordinator, and loves working with Cocky's Reading Express. He plans to work in GIS and data analysis for NOAA or the Navy, and potentially pursue graduate school in marine technology.

Golden is a member of the South Carolina Honors College pursuing a double major in Biological Sciences and Anthropology. A Magellan Scholar and a Palmetto Fellow, she is the recipient of the TL McMeekin Scholarhip, the GSSM Scholarship, and the SASS Foundation Scholarship. She is currently doing research in Dr. Mousseau's lab studying dragonflies from Chernobyl and Fukushima. The Director of Presentations for Carolina Science Outreach, she is also active with both the Tri Beta Biological Honors Society and Cocky's Reading Express. Golden plans a career in ecology and environmental management.

Key is a member of the South Carolina Honors College pursuing a double major in Biological Sciences and Chemistry. He is currently working as a Supplemental Instructor for Dr. Rassolov's Chemistry 112 class, and has served as a SI for Calculus 1. Working under Dr. David Wethey, his research involves building models of Spanish mollusk survival in order to predict and eventually prevent significant mortality events.

Korabik is a McNair Scholar and member of the South Carolina Honors College, pursuing majors in Biological Sciences and Chinese Studies with a minor in Russian. She is currently involved with two research projects on campus: one studying the effects of radiation from Chernobyl and Fukushima on spider web architecture in Dr. Timothy Mousseau's lab, and one studying feeding preferences of Lepidoptera on life history traits in Dr. Carol Bogg's lab. Korabik serves as a lifeguard at USC, is a member of the Club Water Polo team, and is a member of Sigma Omega Upsilon International Business Fraternity. She plans a career in ecosystem ecology research.

Lynn is a member of the South Carolina Honors College earning a double major in Biological Sciences and Geology. She is currently doing research both with Dr. David Barbeau in Geology and with Dr. Sarah Rothenberg in the School of Environmental Health Science. Lynn also enjoys her work with Outdoor Recreation, facilitating the climbing wall. She ultimately plans a career in research.

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 faculty advisors Dr. Claudia Benitez-Nelson, 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. Jean Ellis in Marine Science and Geography, and Dr. Gwen Geidel in Earth and Ocean Sciences. Dr. Benitez-Nelson stated that, "the Hollings Scholarship is one of the top honors that an undergraduate interested in pursuing marine and atmospheric research and policy can receive. The large number of students who have garnered scholarships this year highlights the outstanding environmental stewardship of our students across all majors 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.

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