Two William & Mary sophomores were awarded the Hollings Scholarship, one of the programs offered by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Anna Klompen and Tessa Diehl now have a chance to further develop their interest in atmospheric and oceanic science through NOAA.
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration awards undergraduate students the Ernest F. Hollings scholarship every April. The main goal of the scholarship, open only to sophomores, is to prepare these students for future careers in oceanic and atmospheric sciences.
Klompen ’17, is from Ohio and is the daughter of an entomology professor at Ohio State University. Her interests in marine science began at a young age.
“When I was at the zoo I heard someone say, ‘We know more about the surface of the moon than our oceans surface,’” Klompen said. “And when I heard that I thought: So I can discover things no one else can?”
Klompen is a double major in biology and chemistry. She said her true interest is research and she stated that she is most excited for the nine-week research internship that she will complete through NOAA next summer.
“I want to do natural product synthesis on marine organisms, specifically looking at the toxins produced by jellyfish to see if they can be resynthesized for pharmaceutical use,” Klompen said.
Her advisor Jonathan Allen, assistant professor of biology, attributes Klompen’s success to her work ethic and to her previous work in research labs.
“I encourage all of my students to enroll in some kind of intense summer research program,” Allen said.
Tessa Diehl ’17, is William and Mary’s other Hollings Scholar. Diehl’s father is a professor of biology at the University of Virginia. “I grew up saying I would never do biology and then I loved it. I have been speaking the language my whole life” Diehl said.
As Hollings scholars, the students are enrolled in a two-year program, where they are assigned paid summer research internships and given academic assistance. Undergraduates come away from this experience with increased knowledge of the ocean and atmosphere. The NOAA hopes that the students will use this experience to further their careers in these fields.
Diehl’s main focuses are in marine science and community and behavioral ecology. She hopes that the Hollings Scholarship will help narrow her fields of interest.
“Because of how the program works, the students that are selected get to work with a mentor to find a match,” Diehl said. “I think it’s really powerful in how you can use the Hollings scholarship to further your interests and define your interests.”
Klompen said that she is certain research in marine science is her career path. She wants to use the Hollings Scholarship to further her experience and knowledge in the material.
“In my NOAA essay I emphasized that what I want to do is research, but I want to further my education,” Klompen said. “I want to learn how to do that more effectively and this program provides an avenue for me to do it well.”
After she finishes her undergraduate degree from William and Mary, Klompen hopes to attend graduate school, which is known for its marine biomass and biotechnology programs. She wants to continue doing hands-on research after achieving her master’s, ideally in biological medicine.
Diehl wants to pursue a Ph.D. in research, and ultimately enter academia. “I love teaching and I love research so that’s why I think academia makes sense” Diehl said.
Professor of Biology John Swaddle, Diehl’s research advisor, is enthusiastic about the Hollings scholarship and the opportunities it provides.
“This scholarship offers students wonderful opportunities to partner with NOAA scientists and network with other oceanographic and atmospheric scientists as they develop their research careers,” Swaddle said.
It is not easy to get into the program. Every year roughly five hundred undergraduates apply for this scholarship and approximately one hundred students are selected.
The NOAA is a Federal environmental science agency within the Department of Commerce. The agency’s goal is to promote knowledge and awareness of marine and coastal environments for a better economy and environment. The Hollings Undergraduate Scholarship Program is one of many programs the NOAA provides.