Graduate Education & Awards
ST. PETERSBURG, FL - Three USF College of Marine Science graduate students have been recognized by the National Science Foundation's 2016 Graduate Research Fellowship Program. Kara Vadman, a geological oceanography graduate student in Amelia Shevenell's lab, and Jonathan Sharp, a chemical oceanography student in Dr. Bob Byrne's lab, received the prestigious 3-year NSF fellowships and Amanda Sosnowski, a biological oceanographer in Heather Judkins' and Mya Breitbart's labs earned an honorable mention. The highly competitive NSF Graduate Research Fellowship Program recognizes and supports outstanding graduate students in NSF-supported science, technology, engineering, and mathematics disciplines who are pursuing research-based graduate degrees.
"What is your research topic on, Kara Vadman?"
"My research seeks to advance our understanding of Earth’s climate system by unraveling dynamic ice-ocean interactions that take place on the East Antarctic margin. I am conducting a paleoceanographic study of bottom water temperatures proximal to the marine terminating Totten Glacier-Moscow University Ice Shelf System using foraminifera geochemistry from a suite of marine sediment cores. The microfossils provide a record of oceanographic change over the past several thousand years. This project will enable us to determine the role that warm water masses have on ice sheet stability, which is immediately relevant to concerns that ongoing warming is destabilizing Antarctica’s ice sheets, resulting in global sea level rise."
"What is your research topic on, Jonathan Sharp?"
"I am a student in Robert Byrne's lab studying the marine carbonate system. I am investigating the influence of particulate organic matter on the titration alkalinity of seawater. I am also working on developing novel in situ sensors to measure carbonate system parameters. I'll be sailing on the 2016 West Coast Ocean Acidification Cruise in May to gather important water chemistry data and to broaden my scientific perspectives."
"What is your research topic on, Amanda Sosnowski?"
My Master’s research is focused on intraspecies variation and population connectivity in deep-sea cephalopods, as well as linking taxonomic diagnoses with DNA barcodes. My main research objectives include: determining genetic diversity in deep-sea cephalopods at the species level, determining genetic connectivity in deep-sea cephalopods at the regional level across different stations in the Gulf of Mexico (GoM), and determining genetic connectivity in deep-sea cephalopods at the population level across disjunct basins separated by the Florida Peninsula (GoM and Northwest Atlantic Ocean). By studying the genetic diversity and population connectivity in deep-sea cephalopods, my research will lend a fuller picture to the amount of gene flow amongst cephalopod species in the GoM and Northwest Atlantic Ocean. It is imperative to understand the gene pool and genetic exchange of deep-sea cephalopods to determine if demographic independence exists among populations, and subsequently, assess their vulnerability to impact and recovery after disturbance.
Congratulations to Kara, Jonathan, and Amanda!
ST. PETERSBURG - Ms. Elizabeth Brown of the University of South Florida has been awarded a Fulbright Research Grant to Germany to continue her geological oceanography doctoral research at MARUM (Marine Environmental Studies) at the Universität Bremen, under the direction of Dr. Michael Kucera. Elizabeth is one of only 75 students to receive a full grant to Germany under the Fulbright program this year.
Elizabeth will explore the concept that a sub-tropical fossil plankton (G. ruber), used as a chemical indicator of ancient ocean/climate conditions, may not be accurately interpreted by scientists. She plans to bring her background in paleontology to Dr. Kucera’s lab, and draw on his expertise in genetic analysis and cryptic evolution. Her research goal is to better constrain the fossil record by analyzing global distribution and evolution of G. ruber. Elizabeth received her master’s degree in Geological Oceanography from the University of South Florida and her bachelor’s degree in Geology from Amherst College in Massachusetts.
As a Ph.D. student, Elizabeth represents the USF College of Marine Sciences, where her academic achievements have been noted inside and outside the classroom. She has taken part in field research and academic workshops in Germany (European Consortium for Ocean Drilling Summer School and GLOMAR Research Placement Program), Italy (Urbino Summer School in Paleoclimatology and Fifth International School on Foraminifera), Iceland (Five-College Field Studies) and Montana (Indiana University Geologic Field Camp). Elizabeth has also participated in research cruises for the RV Weatherbird II in the northern Gulf of Mexico and the West Florida Shelf. She is currently on the JOIDES Resolution in the South China Sea, working as a biostratigrapher.
Elizabeth is a member of the American Geophysical Union (AGU), the Geological Society of America (GSA), the Association of Women Geoscientists and the Society for Sedimentary Geology: NAMS. She has presented conference abstracts at the American Geophysical Union and the Geological Society of America annual meetings. She is a recipient of the College of Marine Science’s Carl Riggs Endowed Fellowship, a European Science Foundation Short Visit Grant, a Garry Jones and Brian O’Neill Memorial Grant for NAMS Student Research and a National Science Foundation Scholarship to the Urbino Summer School in Paleoclimatology in Urbino, Italy.
Elizabeth is also active in community engagement for the promotion of science education. Since 2010, she has been a science teacher for the USF Oceanography Camp for Girls as well as an outreach officer for the Marine Science Advisory Committee, and from 2010 to 2013 she was a judge at the National Ocean Science Bowl. She is proficient in the Japanese language after living abroad in Kanazawa, Japan for a year as a Rotary Youth Scholar.
Following her return to the United States, Elizabeth plans to defend her doctoral studies and then seek employment as a post-doctoral research fellow, allowing her to gain more experience in independent research, teaching and grant-writing necessary to become a professor in academic science. She hopes to also continue to study the German language, as well as continue her collaboration with MARUM in post-graduate projects.
Dr. Linda Lucas, Director of the Office of National Scholarships said of Elizabeth’s award, “We are very proud of Elizabeth’s many significant accomplishments. She will be a wonderful ambassador from the US during her Fulbright experience.” The Office of National Scholarships identifies, recruits and mentors high achieving students to apply for national merit scholarships across all disciplines. The scholarships and fellowships are for creative, motivated and academically strong students who are leaders in and out of the classroom.
The Fulbright Program is the flagship international educational exchange program sponsored by the U.S. government and is designed to increase mutual understanding between the people of the United States and the people of other countries. The primary source of funding for the Fulbright Program is an annual appropriation made by the U.S. Congress to the U.S. Department of State, Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs. Participating governments and host institutions, corporations and foundations in foreign countries and in the United States also provide direct and indirect support. Recipients of Fulbright grants are selected on the basis of academic or professional achievement, as well as demonstrated leadership potential in their fields. The Program operates in over 155 countries worldwide. The Fulbright U.S. Student Program is administered by the Institute of International Education.