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Meet the 2015 Hollings Scholars!

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Each year, NOAA’s Office of National Marine Sanctuaries hosts several undergraduate Hollings scholars at sites across the National Marine Sanctuary System. Working with sanctuaries, these students -- all rising seniors at their universities -- gain practical educational training experience through NOAA-related science, research, technology, policy, management and education activities. The scholarship program is designed to prepare students for careers as scientists, teachers and environmental educators, and to increase public environmental and ocean literacy. With such crucial goals, it’s no wonder that the scholarship attracts some stellar students -- and we’re excited to introduce you to this year’s cohort!

Alexandria Barkman

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A biology major at Temple University in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, Alexandria undertook a summer project at Papahānaumokuākea Marine National Monument. Mentored by Daniel Wagner and Randy Kosaki, she measured the abundance and distribution of macrobenthic organisms -- like sea stars, sponges, and polychaete worms -- at coral reefs throughout the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands.

Alexandria is passionate about ocean exploration and aims to work toward conserving the ocean’s fragile ecosystems, like the pristine ecosystems of Papahānaumokuākea Marine National Monument

Makanani Bell

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An American University senior studying anthropology and Italian studies, Makanani spent the summer interning at Thunder Bay National Marine Sanctuary and developing a project with the support of Sarah Waters about using education to promote resource management. As part of her project, she developed and led two sessions of Junior Shipwreck Archeology Camp, teaching campers aged five through nine about the sanctuary and shipwreck conservation -- and gaining 39 new stewards for Thunder Bay National Marine Sanctuary!

While interning at the sanctuary, Makanani also had the opportunity to assist in documenting and mapping shipwrecks in the sanctuary itself. Because Makanani aspires to become a maritime archaeologist, the more than 200 shipwrecks within the sanctuary boundaries have provided a perfect opportunity for her to practice and learn about her intended career.

Billie Case

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A rising senior at American University, majoring in environmental studies and minoring in finance and philosophy, Billie put her project, “Fostering Fascination: Ocean Literacy Education through Inquiry-Based Learning” into practice at Olympic Coast National Marine Sanctuary. Supported by Jacqueline Laverdure and Nicole Harris this summer, Billie designed and led three weeks of four-day Junior Oceanographer summer camps for children between the ages of five and twelve. Through her camp programs, Billie endeavored to increase camper knowledge, appreciation and identification skills of Olympic Coast marine organisms and habitats.

Kathryn Hobart

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A senior geology and chemistry student at Oberlin College, Kathryn spent her summer studying marine debris at Olympic Coast National Marine Sanctuary. Working with mentors Liam Antrim and Heidi Pedersen, she analyzed marine debris data collected since 2012, ultimately producing an interim report and outreach products for the volunteers at the sanctuary.

This fall, Kathryn will build off of the skills she gained working at Olympic Coast National Marine Sanctuary whileand combining her love of the ocean, geology and marine invertebrates by beginning her Honors project, which is focused on Devonian reef fossils.

Courtney Knox

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Courtney is a rising senior at Western Washington University majoring in mathematics. This summer, mentored by Jacqueline Laverdure and Nicole Harris, she undertook a project, “Inspiring the Next Generation of Ocean Explorers,” designed to fuel children’s stewardship of the ocean and support their exploration of future careers in marine science. In partnership with the Feiro Marine Life Center, Courtney coordinated two four-day Marine Tech camps for the Olympic Coast National Marine Sanctuary. Designed for children ages twelve through fifteen, the Marine Tech camps increased kids' knowledge and interest in exploring the ocean through ROVs, scuba diving, and seafloor mapping.

Lyndsey Tanabe

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A Hawaii native and senior at Dickinson College with a double major in biology and environmental science, Lyndsey spent her summer at the Office of National Marine Sanctuaries Pacific Islands Region Office in Kihei, Maui, under the mentorship of Allen Tom. Lyndsey focused her research efforts on the Ko’ie’ie Fishpond, surveying the biodiversity both inside and outside the 400-year-old fishpond, which is adjacent to Hawaiian Islands Humpback Whale National Marine Sanctuary. Her data will supplement previous studies conducted on the fishpond.