Jun. 23, 2016

Vernon Smith, 240-533-0662
Claire Fackler, 805-893-6429

Students selected for 2016 NOAA scholarship honoring Dr. Nancy Foster

NOAA's Office of National Marine Sanctuaries has selected two graduate students as recipients of the Dr. Nancy Foster Scholarship, representing graduate-level areas of study such as marine biology, oceanography and maritime archaeology.

"This highly competitive scholarship program allows the next generation of NOAA scientists to grow intellectually and expand their knowledge while promoting the work and mission of the National Marine Sanctuary System," said John Armor, acting director, Office of National Marine Sanctuaries. "It presents an unmatched opportunity to provide these young scholars with guidance in the very beginning of their careers."

Subject to appropriations, each scholarship recipient will receive an annual stipend of $30,000 and up to $12,000 annually as an education allowance. Additionally, recipients could see up to $10,000 to support a four to six week research collaboration at a NOAA facility. Masters students may be supported for up to two years, and doctoral students for up to four years.
The two scholarship recipients for 2016 are:

The two scholarship recipients for 2016 are:

Andrea Kealoha, Texas A&M University

Andrea Kealoha

Her doctoral studies in oceanography will focus on coral reef health in response to ocean acidification. Her research will be conducted in Flower Garden Banks National Marine Sanctuary in the Gulf of Mexico. Kealoha earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Global Environmental Science at the University of Hawai`i at Manoa and Master of Science degree at Hawai`i Pacific University. During her master's studies, she participated in two research expeditions to Papahānaumokuākea Marine National Monument. 

Angela R. Szesciorka, Scripps Institution of Oceanography

Angela R. Szesciorka

Her doctoral studies in biological oceanography will include the study of vocalization and foraging behavior of fin, blue and humpback whales using acoustic tags and the potential impacts of ship noise on whale behavior. Szesciorka earned a bachelor's degree in journalism from Duquesne University before moving to California and a Master of Science degree in marine science from Moss Landing Marine Laboratories. She works as a research biologist for Cascadia Research, where she studies grey whale foraging in Puget Sound and movement patterns of blue whales in Southern California.

As recipients of the Dr. Nancy Foster Scholarship, these women become recognized members of the NOAA community, as well as ambassadors for the National Marine Sanctuary System. Scholars are highly encouraged to share their research and results with a broad community, focusing on how their research will impact society.

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

NOAA's Office of the National Marine Sanctuaries received more than 200 applications for this scholarship. A panel of scientists from across NOAA reviewed and scored the applications based on the applicants' rankings, financial need, academic excellence, recommendations, research and career goals.

The office serves as a trustee for a network of underwater parks encompassing more than 170,000 square miles of marine and Great Lakes waters. The network includes a system of 13 national marine sanctuaries and Papahānaumokuākea and Rose Atoll marine national monuments.

NOAA's mission is to understand and predict changes in the Earth's environment, from the depths of the ocean to the surface of the sun, and to conserve and manage our coastal and marine resources. Join us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and our other social media channels.