The Matthew Fontaine Maury Fellowship Award is made possible by an endowment that was created in 1988 by the late U.S. Navy Captain J. Maury Werth to honor his great-grandfather Matthew Fontaine Maury, a son of Virginia often referred to as the “Father of Oceanography” and the “Pathfinder of the Seas.” Captain Werth and other family members have contributed to the endowment over the years.
The Maury Award recognizes interdisciplinary achievements in marine and environmental scholarship, research, and/or policy/management efforts, and outstanding publications, thesis, or dissertation work. This year’s winner is Sarah Schillawski.
Sarah Schillawski is one of our most highly accomplished students and exemplifies the highest standards of interdisciplinary scholarship. Her Ph.D. project unifies many of the sub-disciplines of earth science by studying the linkages between watershed characteristics, delivery of dissolved organic matter (DOM), and factors influencing hypoxia in downstream environments. Sarah is studying the roles of hydrology, vegetation, and soil mineralogy on DOM composition in Taskinas Creek and its receiving waters in the York River Estuary, a tributary of Chesapeake Bay. She brings a strong research background in biogeochemistry and earth science to her studies in marine science at VIMS. She is also highly accomplished as evidenced by a recent publication in the prestigious journal Global Biogeochemical Cycles, several teaching awards, and numerous academic and professional awards.
One of Sarah's many distinguishing characteristics is her enthusiasm for knowledge both within her area of study and extending to other related fields such as soil science, hydrology, and ecosystems ecology. Sarah's work ethic, career goals, and the broad environmental significance of her research project exemplify the qualities embodied by the Maury Award. Her motivation, drive, and enthusiasm will take her far and we predict that the breadth and strength of her knowledge of earth and marine sciences will have a lasting impact on the field of marine biogeochemistry.
Because of the quality and breadth of her research and her natural leadership abilities, Sarah is truly deserving of the Maury Award.