Student Focus - Samantha Bond and Jeremy Bender
Two University of Maine sophomores have received the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Ernest F. Hollings Undergraduate Scholarship.
Samantha Bond, a marine science major, zoology minor and honors student from Temple, N.H., and Jeremy Bender, a marine science major and honors student from Saint Paul, Minn., each will receive up to $8,000 per year for their junior and senior years. In addition, they will each have a summer internship at a NOAA facility.
“This has opened my eyes about what I want to do after I finish my undergraduate degree,” Bond says.
According to NOAA, the scholarship program is designed to: increase undergraduate training in oceanic and atmospheric science, research, technology, and education and foster multidisciplinary training opportunities; increase public understanding and support for stewardship of the ocean and atmosphere and improve environmental literacy; recruit and prepare students for public service careers with NOAA and other natural resource and science agencies at the federal, state and local levels of government; and recruit and prepare students for careers as teachers and educators in oceanic and atmospheric science and to improve scientific and environmental education in the United States.
Since her freshman year at UMaine, Bond has been involved with research on campus and at the Mount Desert Island Biological Lab. Working alongside Sharon Ashworth, an assistant professor of biochemistry, microbiology and molecular biology and the School of Biology and Ecology, Bond has studied genes that impact kidney function in zebrafish, a model organism used to study human diseases. This summer, Bond will study the impact of visible and invisible trash in the Pacific Ocean as she participates in Sea Semester at Woods Hole. The program combines study at the famed Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution in Woods Hole, Mass., with a research-intensive sailing voyage in the Pacific Ocean. In her spare time, Bond is on the UMaine swimming team and actively volunteers with Rotaract.
“It’s a real honor to get this scholarship,” Ashworth says. “Samantha is one of those people who is a true leader. If you ask her to do anything, it’s done. She’s a very productive student and a pleasure to have in my laboratory.”
For Bender, the internship opportunity is the highlight of the Hollings Scholarship program. He says it will be invaluable in terms of getting into graduate school and eventually getting a job in marine science. Next year, he will study at James Cook University in Australia. Bender has also been heavily involved in undergraduate research, working with Sara Lindsay, an assistant professor of marine sciences, to study injury and regeneration in marine worms. Bender also is a member of the UMaine swimming team, and he serves on the Student-Athlete Advisory Committee.
“He’s one of our best and brightest, and he’s also a Division I athlete,” says his adviser, Andrew Thomas, a professor of oceanography. “When you see a student who gets straight-A’s in the sciences and competes in a sport as demanding as swimming, you know that’s a student who is very focused and I can only guess this came through in his essays.”
In recent years, four University of Maine students have received Hollings Scholarships: Kyle Molton, now a senior; and James Spilsbury, Dominique Leclerc and Laura Wood, all juniors.
More information on the Hollings Scholarship is available at http://www.oesd.noaa.gov/Hollings_info.html