Out of five National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Hollings Scholarships awarded to students in Washington state this year, three were given to Western Washington University students.
Dexter Davis of Seattle, Spencer Johnson of Olympia, and Vail Dark of Boise, Idaho were awarded the prestigious scholarships for the 2019-20 school year. In addition to these three Hollings Scholars from Western, Ildiko Kremper, an Everett Community College student who has since transferred to Western, was also awarded the Hollings scholarship. She was one of only a handful of students nationally to have won a Hollings Scholarship while attending community college. This means four out of the five Hollings Scholars in Washington are current Western students.
The fellowship provides up to $9,500 a year for two years of full-time study for recipients during their junior and senior years of college. They also offer a 10-week, full-time paid internship at a NOAA facility during the summer before their senior year.
The fellowship awards include travel funds to attend NOAA Scholarship Program orientation and the annual Science and Education Symposium, scientific conferences where students present research.
Davis, a junior majoring in environmental science with a marine emphasis, will study the effects of ocean acidification on early life stages of fish and invertebrates at the Sandy Hook NOAA Fisheries Lab in New Jersey.
“I’ve wanted to work at NOAA since I toured a facility in high school, and with this opportunity I get my foot in the door,” Davis said. “This internship offers me the ability to conduct my own research and develop additional scientific skills like public speaking, networking, and experimental design.”
Johnson is also majoring in environmental science with a marine emphasis. He will study peatlands in Homer, Alaska with scientists at the Kachemak Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve.
NOAA’s mission is to understand and predict changes in climate, weather, oceans and coasts, to share that knowledge with others, and to conserve and manage coastal and marine ecosystems and resources.
NOAA established the scholarship to honor Senator Ernest Hollings when he retired in 2005, to bolster undergraduate training in NOAA mission sciences, and increase environmental literacy. Senator Hollings was a champion for ocean policy and conservation during his long career in state and federal politics, and played a major role in the establishment of NOAA.
For more information, contact Western Washington University Office of Communications at (360) 650-3350.