Six sophomores at the University of Rhode Island have been awarded the Ernest F. Hollings Scholarship from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), the most of any public university in the nation in 2012. Among the six Rhode Island and 117 nationwide winners is marine biology major Michael Canton of Warwick.
Canton said that he has always had “an innate interest” in marine biology. Last summer he studied the biofouling properties of green algae and how it adheres to various materials, which he called “a great learning experience.”
He hopes to intern at NOAA’s Great Lakes Environmental Research Lab to study the effects of invasive species and other marine hazards. Canton’s long-term goal is to become a college biology professor and conduct research on coral atolls and algal blooms.
The award provides the students with a total of $16,000 toward tuition in their junior and senior years at URI, plus a paid summer internship at a NOAA lab anywhere in the country during the summer after their junior year. The scholarship program is designed to increase interest in oceanic and atmospheric science, increase support for environmental stewardship, and recruit students to public service careers at NOAA and other governmental science agencies.
Since 2009, URI students have been awarded a total of 13 Hollings Scholarships, the most of any institution in New England and second most among public universities in the U.S.
“We are so proud of the achievements of all of our students,” said Jacqueline Webb, professor of biological sciences and coordinator of the URI Marine Biology Program. “The Hollings Scholarship will provide them with unique research opportunities and will open so many doors for the future. The NOAA internships are quite extraordinary. In the past few years, our Hollings recipients have gone to the NOAA labs in Santa Cruz, Seattle, Hawaii, Beaufort, Puerto Rico and Narragansett.”