Five rising juniors from the University of Maryland are recipients of National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Ernest F. Hollings Scholarships 2021, which recognize outstanding students in a wide range of STEM fields.
Since 2009, 47 UMD students have received Hollings Scholarships, which provide approximately 120 students nationwide with up to $ 9,500 in academic assistance for two years of study, plus a full-time paid internship. 10 weeks at a NOAA facility during the summer.
Reese barrett, a chemical and biomolecular engineering major, is conducting research in Prof. Akua Asa-Awuku’s lab on the potential of weather conditions to affect the incidence of Legionnaires’ disease, a type of pneumonia caused by the Legionella bacteria.
Barrett examines the effects of precipitation, humidity, temperature and latitude on the average number of cases and tries to discern trends in the data.
âI hope to complete my data analysis and compile my work into an article in the next few months,â she said. “For my first year, I’m looking to combine my major in chemical engineering with my minor in some form or another, but my research topic is still under development.”
The minor in Sustainability Studies also interned for several summers, starting as a high school student, in the Applied Physics Lab at Johns Hopkins University.
Major in environmental science and policy Julia Kischkat focuses on combining his love for the environment with his interest in politics and politics. She did an internship this year at the U.S. Department of Energy and hopes the Hollings Fellowship provides her with yet another opportunity to roll up her sleeves and delve into research that could help shape a career path.
âI want to gain as much practical experience as possible to understand what I want to do,â Kischkat said. âI just have an appreciation for our world and nature and all that they give us. I’ve noticed this a lot lately, especially during my forties. “
Kischkat first became interested in environmental science while completing a research project at her high school in Westchester, New York, on the impact of human behavior on fish populations in the Amazon. A service trip to the Peruvian Amazon reinforced his passion for protecting the planet.
âI came back with a different mindset and wanted a career or a path that embodies that,â she said.
The interdisciplinary nature of planetary science has attracted Siobhan Light, double degree student in astronomy and geology, in the field.
âPlanetary science brings together astronomy, physics, geology, atmospheric science and so many different fields,â Light said. âAnd I realized that I didn’t have to trade one of my interests for another; I can find an intermediate path between space and Earth.
She interned at the National Museum of Natural History and the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory in high school and at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center during her college studies. Each experience, including his on-campus research with UMD’s geology department, further strengthened his passion for planetary science.
Light’s research with NASA involves analyzing data from Titan, Saturn’s largest moon and the solar system’s second largest natural satellite. It measures Titan’s winds and compares the measurements to form a more complete chronology of the evolution of winds on the moon.
Double-degree student in biological sciences and government and politics Yulia Lim got interested in meteorology in her first year through the Carillon Communities Weather and Climate Track, a year-long living learning program where she took a course with Tim Canty, associate professor of ocean and atmospheric sciences.
In 2020, Lim joined him with Ralph Kahn, Principal Investigator at NASA Goddard, as part of their ongoing Active Aerosol Plume-Height (AAP) project. Lim’s work focuses on the 2020 wildfires in Siberia and California. Using a program developed by NASA’s AAP team, she downloads satellite images and examines them for signs of wildfires. Once she identifies a forest fire by the plume of smoke, she examines and analyzes the plume. Lim has also branched out to use satellite imagery to examine how certain types of clouds affect global warming.
âA successful career for me is that whatever I choose, I can make an impact by helping our climate,â Lim explained. âWhether it’s helping to conserve the oceans or protecting marine eco-life, I’ve always been very interested in marine conservation. “
Eric robinson, a double-degree student in computer science and geography, plans to apply his coding skills to Earth studies to preserve wildlife and the natural environment.
News of his Hollings scholarship came just weeks after learning that he had also been selected for the 2021 William M. Lapenta NOAA Student Internship Program– preparing him to do an internship with NOAA for consecutive summers in 2021 and 2022.
This summer, Robinson is creating a visualization package for the marine component of a new climate model, the Joint Effort for Data assimilation Integration. The marine component of the model is less developed than the atmospheric part, which is why Robinson writes original code to simulate and predict the temperature, currents and salinity of the ocean.
âThe goal is that once the model is able to display a daily weather forecast based on the packages I wrote, in three minutes it can create a bunch of different visualizations,â said Robinson. “These visualizations help NOAA educate the public so they can see things more clearly instead of just a bunch of numbers in the forecast.”