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July 2, 2012

Vernon Smith, 301-713-7248

Students Selected for 2012 NOAA Scholarships
Honoring Dr. Nancy Foster

NOAA's Office of National Marine Sanctuaries has selected three graduate students as national recipients of the Dr. Nancy Foster Scholarships. Recipients of the scholarships represent graduate-level scholars in marine biology, coastal resource management and maritime archeology.

The scholarships were established in memory of Dr. Nancy Foster, a leader in marine resource conservation, former NOAA assistant administrator for oceanic services and coastal zone management, and director of NOAA's National Ocean Service. Congress created the scholarship in 2000 as a means of honoring her life's work, 23 years of service to NOAA, and her contribution to the nation.

"This program is an exceptional opportunity to develop the next generation of NOAA scientists," said Daniel J. Basta, director, NOAA's Office of National Marine Sanctuaries. "We are very excited to support this year's recipients and their research in the National Marine Sanctuary System."

Each scholarship recipient will receive an annual stipend of $30,000, up to $12,000 annually as an education allowance, and is eligible for up to $10,000 to support a four-to-six week research collaboration at a NOAA facility. Doctoral students are eligible to continue the scholarship program for four years and master's level students for two years.

The three scholarship recipients are:

  • Caitlin Jensen, San Francisco State University. Jensen is pursuing her M.S. in geographic information science. Her master's thesis will focus on a GIS analysis of vessel traffic and endangered whale habitat in the Cordell Bank and Gulf of Farallones national marine sanctuaries in California.

  • Nyssa Silbiger, University of Hawaii at Mānoa. Silbiger is pursuing a doctorate in zoology. Her dissertation research addresses how natural environmental variability and human-induced environmental change influence bio-erosion rates on Hawaiian coral reefs throughout the Hawaiian Archipelago focusing primarily on the Paphānaumokuākea Marine National Monument.

  • Jan Vicente, University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science. Vicente is pursuing a Ph.D. in marine estuarine environmental sciences. His dissertation is focused on the effects that ocean acidification have on the ability of sponges to build their skeleton. He will be conducting research on black ball and red vase sponges on the coral reefs of Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary.

This is the 12th year of the scholarship program and NOAA received more than 240 applications to evaluate for the class of 2012. A panel of NOAA scientists reviewed and scored the applications based on their rankings, financial need, academic excellence, recommendations, research, and career goals.

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NOAA Office of National Marine Sanctuaries
Dr. Nancy Foster Scholarship Program

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