The University of South Carolina is home to five new NOAA Hollings Scholars. Haley Durbin, Blair Elliott, Sydney Staines, Weston Watts and Jasmine Witt have been named 2022 recipients of this prestigious scholarship, which offers $19,000 and a 10-week paid internship with a NOAA facility.
Why it matters: Hollings Scholars receive hands-on experience and multidisciplinary training to foster their skills as researchers, educators and advocates for the ocean, atmosphere and environment.
Who they are: All five recipients are sophomores in the South Carolina Honors College.
- Haley Durbin, a marine science major and Spanish minor from Ohio, plans to earn an M.S. and Ph.D. and work in ocean conservation. Durbin currently works as a lab assistant in professor Jay Pinckney’s lab and is conducting independent research on phytoplankton in Lake Murray.
- Blair Elliott is a BARSC major from Georgia whose academic focus is environmental and marine policy. She currently works with Conservation Voters of South Carolina and has served as a research assistant at Kennesaw State University and an intern with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Elliot is also a Stamps scholarship recipient, a top merit scholarship for undergraduates given to 10 UofSC students each year.
- Sydney Staines, a Tennessee native, studies marine science major who promotes sustainability as a Green Quad resident mentor. She has been working in professor Nick Peng’s marine microbial lab since 2021 and plans to pursue a career in research.
- Weston Watts is a mathematics and economics double major from South Carolina. Watts, whose goal is to work in the public sector as an economist, conducts research with professor Philip Brookins and serves as an intern with the S.C. Revenue and Fiscal Affairs Office, providing economic research and analyses for the S.C. Board of Economic Advisors. He is also vice president of UofSC’s chapter of the S.C. Student Legislature and co-president of the Gamecock Economic Society.
- Jasmine Witt, a marine science major from South Carolina, plans to work in conversation and research of marine mammals. Her undergraduate research experience includes an independent project with professor T. D. Maze at Lander University, a work study in the Xu lab and a research assistantship with professor Meyer-Gutbrod.
Good to know: Over the past 5 years, UofSC students have earned over five times as many of these awards as Harvard or MIT students and over eight times as many as Clemson students.
Students interested in learning more about NOAA Hollings or other external funding opportunities should contact National Fellowships & Scholar Programs.