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Eckerd remains top Hollings Scholar producer in the nation, nine new students awarded

By Robbyn Hopewell
Published May 10, 2019
Categories: About Eckerd, Academics, Awards, Biology, Marine Science, Student Research, Students

Clockwise from top left: Isabela Rios, Joedeelee Rigdon, Brandon Rose, Evan Coit, Sydney Hauser, Cecilia Thompson, Jennifer Necker, Annaliese Schrandt and Kelly Krause were awarded the NOAA Ernest F. Hollings Scholarship this spring.

Nine more Tritons can add National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Ernest F. Hollings Undergraduate Scholar to their lists of accomplishments.

Since the scholarship and internship award named for the late U.S. Senator from South Carolina was established in 2005, 89 Eckerd College sophomores have been accepted into the program—the most in the nation.

This year, nine natural sciences majors at Eckerd were awarded the prestigious scholarship: Evan Coit ’21, a marine science student from Salida, Colorado; Sydney Hauser ’21, a marine science student from Chalfont, Pennsylvania; Kelly Krause ’21, a marine science student from Hartland, Wisconsin, Jennifer Necker ’21, a marine science student from White Rock, New Mexico; Joedeelee Rigdon ’21, a marine science student from Moffat, Colorado; Isabela Rios ’21, a marine science student from Huixquilucan, Mexico; Brandon Rose 21, a marine science student from Geneva, Illinois; Annaliese Schrandt ’21, a biology student from Ann Arbor, Michigan; and Cecilia Thompson ’21, a marine science student from Oak Park, Illinois.

Hollings Scholars will attend a one-week orientation in the final week of May, receive up to $9,500 for their final two years of undergraduate study and spend 10 weeks in the summer of 2020 interning at a NOAA facility, with $700 per week in pay and $200 per week in housing allowances for students not living at home.

Interested students at Eckerd attend an information session hosted by the John M. Bevan Center for Academic Excellence, and start the application process early.

“There are so many experienced marine science students at Eckerd that I honestly didn’t think it was going to be me,” said Cecilia Thompson, who was notified of the win via email on April 29. “It’s always been a goal of mine to get the Hollings Scholarship. I was so happy, I teared up.”

Many of this year’s winners had extensive research and fieldwork under their belts going into the grueling monthslong application process.

“In high school, I planted a coral nursery near Playa del Carmen—the first of its kind in Mexico,” said Isabela Rios, the only international student among this year’s Hollings Scholars from Eckerd. Her love of marine research drew her to Eckerd, but her interests have pivoted from coral to engineering for her future career. She plans to complete Eckerd College’s 3-2 Engineering Program and obtain her masters from Columbia University. “I’d love to be placed in a California lab that is using drones powered by wind and solar energy to track great white shark migration,” she added.

Though NOAA Hollings Scholarships mainly focus on internships in the natural sciences, a few of our scholars can see deeper implications of their research interests for the future. “I’d personally love to be placed in Alaska” said Evan Coit. “In the future, I want to study microbiology in extreme environments. I want to be an astronaut.”