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Eckerd Marine Science Major Ben Belgrad '13 Named Goldwater Scholar

posted on 05/09/2012

Ben Belgrad '13

By Greg Johnson '15

Junior Ben Belgrad '13 of Boardman, Ohio, is one of 282 college students nationwide to receive the prestigious Goldwater Scholarship for the 2012-2013 academic year. He is the 13th Eckerd College student to be named a Goldwater Scholar.

Ben is majoring in marine science with minors in mathematics and chemistry. After Eckerd, he plans on pursuing a Ph.D. or Master's degree in marine science, conducting research in marine science and possibly teaching at the university level. Ben received a one-year scholarship that will cover the cost of tuition, fees, books, and room and board.

Established by Congress in 1986 to honor Senator Barry M. Goldwater, the Barry M. Goldwater Scholarship and Excellence in Education Foundation provides awards to highly qualified college students who intend to pursue careers in science, mathematics or engineering.

The 2012 Goldwater Scholars were selected on the basis of academic merit from a field of 1,123 mathematics, science, and engineering students who were nominated by the faculties of colleges and universities nationwide. Bill Szelistowski, Associate Professor of Biology and Marine Science, serves as the Goldwater faculty representative at Eckerd College.

During his sophomore year, Ben was one of six Eckerd students to be named a Hollings Scholar. That same year, he worked with Nancy Smith, Associate Professor of Biology and Marine Science, on a two-part project studying the effect of parasitic castrators on population growth using trematodes and matterhorn snails. On the second part of the project, Ben and Professor Smith found that one can "correlate the age of restored mangrove habitat with the infection rates, and what we saw was an increase in infection rates over time."

While at Eckerd, Ben has served in numerous roles at Eckerd, including a job with the Waterfront program. He is also a part of Eckerd's prestigious Ford Apprentice Scholar Program. Ben has pursued several research opportunities, including his work with NOAA that will help to determine how pesticides and urban stormwater affect the behavior of fish. This research will take place in Seattle, Wash. Ben will present his summer research with NOAA in Washington, DC in early August.

Click here to read Ben Belgrad's paper from April 2012, "Science, Queen of the Academy"

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