Scholarship allows students to gain experience at NOAA

UofSC continues to be nationwide leader in producing Hollings Scholars

Maura Glovins believes a lot of children go through a “I want to be a marine biologist when I grow up” phase. She just never grew out of it.

Glovins, a Capstone Scholar majoring in marine science with a minor in education, is one of six rising juniors at the University of South Carolina who have been chosen as 2019 Ernest F. Hollings Undergraduate Scholars. The program exposes rising juniors and seniors to the mission of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration in honor of the career of Hollings, who was a longtime U.S. senator from South Carolina and a former governor of the state. Many Hollings Scholars have gone on to become scientists, policymakers or educators in oceanic and atmospheric workforce and stewardship.

“My experiences in college have definitely grown my passion for the subject,” Glovins says. “The work I have done with research, conservation and educating others has shown me that marine science is so much more than my early assumptions coming into college, and they excite me every day about potential future careers.”

In addition to Glovins, this year’s scholarship recipients are Claudia Moncada, Camryn Arnstein, Hannah Aycock, Jaquan High and Sara Nix. With 56 recipients since the inception of the scholarship in 2005, UofSC is one of the top three Hollings Scholars producers in the nation.

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 10-week paid summer internship is included, as well as funding to present the scholar’s NOAA research project at two national scientific conferences.

Glovins, also a Magellan Scholar, works as a project manager for a zooplankton ecology laboratory. She previously worked as both a Sustainable Carolina K-12 Education intern and a National Science Foundation research intern in ocean sciences at Rutgers University. She sees the Hollings scholarship as a boost to her education that can help jumpstart her career.

“I am most looking forward to the internship that comes with the Hollings fellowship that will occur during the summer after my junior year. Obviously, the financial aid that accompanies the award opens up many opportunities, whether it be conferences, educational freedom or other privileges,” Glovins says.

Claudia Moncada is a marine science major and Spanish minor in the South Carolina Honors College. She is a member of the UofSC EcoReps and a recipient of the SURF and Magellan minigrants to conduct research. She will be conducting field research abroad in the U.K. this summer to examine the effects of climate change on barnacle populations and coastal communities.

“I found out [about winning the scholarship] almost by accident,” Moncada says. “I logged into the application page that morning on the shuttle to campus, fully expecting to see the word ‘processing’ still on the application. When I saw ‘selected,’ I didn’t really believe it; I cried a little. The shuttle heard me say ‘Oh my God’ about 10 times, and I got a few funny looks.”

Moncada says the NOAA internship will be a learning opportunity that will help her accomplish her future goals, which include working with communities to educate them about the environment and their impact on it.

“This opportunity will allow me to interact with people who do for a living what I aspire to accomplish, and I would like to use this opportunity as a stepping stone to help get me to where I want to be in the future. Right now, the opportunities are endless” she says.

Camryn Arnstein is a rising junior double-majoring in marine science and environmental studies. This spring, 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.

Arnstein says her interest in marine science began as a senior in high school when she took AP Environmental Science. Signing up for Marine Science 101 during her first semester at UofSC sparked her interest further as did joining the Students Engaged in Aquatic Sciences club.

After graduating, Arnstein hopes to pursue a career in marine research, ocean conservation and environmental policy. She sees the Hollings scholarship as an opportunity to hone her focus as she continues her education.

“This opportunity will allow me to network with various people in my field, which can potentially open many doors for me,” she says. “It will also help narrow my interests and allow me to find the area I would like to focus on and study in graduate school.”

Hannah Aycock is a South Carolina Honors College rising junior majoring in marine science. At UofSC she has participated in research on abnormalities in fire bugs from the Chernobyl region in professor Tim Mousseau’s laboratory as well as in research in the Galapagos Islands where she studied this spring.

“I have always had a love for all animals in the ocean. I have wanted to protect the ocean and work towards conservation of endangered species since before I could remember,” Aycock says. “I was absolutely ecstatic when I found out that I had been selected for this award.”

Aycock credits the university for preparing her to be a strong candidate in the application process. She plans to pursue a career that focuses on conservation of marine animals and promotes sustainable fisheries.

Jaquan High is a rising junior and a UofSC Opportunity Scholar majoring in geology. He has been active in Sustainable Carolina and interned at the Green Quad Facility. He is pursuing the research pathway in the Graduation with Leadership Distinction.

High developed an interest in ecology and zoology in high school, but his focus has shifted toward geology.

“My family and I never took any vacations when I was younger, so my desire to travel and see the world only grew as I got older. I started to grow a passion for the natural world, and I soon wanted to know how and why the different land forms and features existed in this world. My passion for science has grown nonstop,” High says.

After graduation, High plans to pursue a doctorate in coastal geomorphology and develop his leadership skills so he can inspire the next generation of geoscientists. High credits his mentors for encouraging his work ethic, determination and leadership and says the staff and faculty at the Green Quad changed his perspective on college.

“I started to not only focus on my academics, but also work toward developing my character, self-confidence and growing a positive personality that may someday become contagious to others. I believe this fellowship will serve as a catalyst … I also know the more that I learn, the more I will truly narrow down the career I wish to have.”

Nix is a South Carolina Honors College rising junior double-majoring in marine science and international studies with a minor in Russian. She is the Global Health Week Chair for Timmy Global Health, an organization that promotes access to health care, 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.

For more information about Ernest F. Hollings Undergraduate Scholarships or other national competitions or assistance in applying, contact National Fellowships and Scholar Programs at 803-777-0958 or go to 

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