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Six UofSC Students Named NOAA Hollings Scholars


Six rising juniors at the University of South Carolina have been chosen as 2019 Ernest F. Hollings Undergraduate Scholars.  This year’s recipients, Camryn Arnstein, Hannah Aycock, Maura Glovins, Jaquan High, Claudia Moncada, and Sara Nix bring the total number of USC Hollings Scholars to 56 over the 15 years of this national competition, with 31 won in the past five years. This makes the University one of the top three Hollings Scholars producers in the nation since the inception of the scholarship in 2005.

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, in honor of the dedicated career of 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 2019 Hollings Scholars includes 125 students from across the country.

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 $9,500 of academic assistance per school year for full-time study during the junior and senior years.  A required, 10-week, paid summer internship including travel and living expenses is also included, as well as funding to present the scholar’s NOAA research project at two national scientific conferences.

Arnstein is a rising junior double-majoring in Marine Science and Environmental Studies. At UofSC she is a member of the Students Engaged in Aquatic Sciences (SEAS) Club, Mountaineering and Whitewater Rafting Club, Scuba Diving Club, and Pi Beta Phi Sorority. In the spring of 2019, she participated in a semester exchange program at the University of the Virgin Islands in St. Thomas where she contributed to research and conservation efforts for marine invertebrates. This summer she is conducting research on sharks and rays near Clearwater, Florida through the Coastal Marine Education and Research Academy. In the future she hopes to pursue a career in marine research, ocean conservation, and environmental policy.

Aycock is South Carolina Honors College rising junior majoring in Marine Science. During her time at UofSC she has participated in research on the inheritance of abnormalities in fire bugs from the Chernobyl region in Dr. Mousseau’s laboratory for a year as well as research in the Galapagos Islands where she studied for the spring 2019 semester. In the future she plans to pursue a career that focuses on conservation of marine animals and promotes sustainable fisheries.  

Glovins is a UofSC Capstone Scholar majoring in Marine Science with a minor in Education. She currently works as a project manager for a zooplankton ecology laboratory, is a Magellan Scholar, and has previously worked as both a Sustainable Carolina K-12 Education Intern and a National Science Foundation Research Intern in Ocean Sciences at Rutgers University. In the future she plans to pursue informal STEM education with an emphasis on marine science.

High is a rising junior and UofSC Opportunity Scholar majoring in Geology. At UofSC he has served as a Sustainable Carolina CAMP GLEA and Peer Leader and interned at the Green Quad Facility. He is pursuing the research pathway in the Graduation with Leadership Distinction Program and has conducted research independently and with Well Logging Use. After graduating from UofSC, he plans to pursue a PhD in Coastal Geomorphology and develop his leadership skill so that he can inspire the next generation of geoscientists.

Moncada is a Marine Science major and Spanish minor in the South Carolina Honors College. At UofSC she is a member of the UofSC EcoReps, has received SURF and Magellan Mini grants to conduct research, and works in Dr. Thomas Hilbish’s lab. She will be conducting field research abroad in the UK this summer, collecting data to examine the effects of climate change on barnacle populations and coastal communities in the United Kingdom.  In the future Moncada plans to work with members of her community to educate them about the environment and their impact on it.

Nix is a South Carolina Honors College rising junior double-majoring in Marine Science and International Studies with a minor in Russian. She is currently working in Dr. Boggs’ lab where she conducts research on glycogen composition of Speyeria Eggs in relation to temperature and other external conditions. She is currently the Global Health Week Chair for Timmy Global Health and was published for her assistance in observing the behavior of mangrove tree crabs in differing environments. In the future, Nix hopes to pursue a career in International Marine Policy.

University of South Carolina Hollings Scholars were assisted by faculty advisors Dr. Claudia Benitez-Nelson,  Distinguished Professor and Associate Dean in the School of the Earth, Ocean and Environment and Dr. Gwen Geidel, Research Professor and Undergraduate Director in the School of the Earth, Ocean and Environment.  Dr. Benitez-Nelson notes, “The Hollings Scholarship is one of the top scholarships in the country for those students interested in pursuing marine and atmospheric research and policy.  The number of our students who continue to receive this scholarship attests to the outstanding stewardship and research occurring in our UofSC community.”

 Hollings Scholars were also aided by the University’s Office of Fellowships & Scholar Programs (  UofSC students interested in applying for national fellowships are encouraged to contact the office ( for assistance.

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