Story posted May 18, 2011
Bowdoin sophomore Tricia Thibodeau, an earth and oceanographic science major, has a won a National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Ernest F. Hollings Scholarship following a nationwide competition.
The Hollings Scholarship includes tuition assistance for full-time study, a 10-week, full-time internship position during the summer at a NOAA facility, and, if reappointed, assistance for full-time study during a second nine-month academic year.
Thibodeau has been working with Associate Professor of Earth and Oceanographic Science Collin Roesler on a research project in the Arabian Sea, where there appears to be a dramatic ecosystem shift in the plankton community during the winter monsoon period.
Roesler says it may be related to climate change-induced impacts on monsoonal wind fields. “My part of the research is to utilize optical sensors deployed from ships and sensors on satellites to identify the species changes,” says Roesler, noting that Thibodeau came to work in her lab last summer as an intern.
“Tricia's project last summer was to use optical signatures of a range of phytoplankton species to identify the composition and concentration of phytoplankton blooms and compare them with those identified microscopically.”
“This award that Tricia has won is very prestigious and may be one of those life-changing experiences in her professional development,” says Roesler. “I could not be prouder.”
“I'm hoping this experience will allow me to make a wide range of connections with the NOAA science community as well as do a valuable summer internship at a NOAA lab in the summer of 2012,” says Thibodeau, who’s from Cape Elizabeth, Maine.
The internship between the first and second years of the award provides the Scholars with hands-on training experience in NOAA-related science, research, technology, policy, management and education activities.
“During my summer internship, there are many possible NOAA labs where I can work, but right now I am interested in Pacific Marine Environmental Laboratory (PMEL) in Seattle, which studies many different topics such as ocean acidification, tsunamis, underwater volcanoes, and fisheries ecosystems.”
Thiboedeau says the internship would likely provide her with data for use in an honors thesis her senior year.
The scholarship also covers travel to an orientation program, to conferences where students present a paper or poster, and a housing subsidy for scholars who do not reside at home during the summer internship.