William J. Hargis Jr. Fellowship Award

Dr. Hargis established this annual award to recognize a first-year graduate student based on superior academic performance and a demonstration of exceptional promise in marine research. Nominations for the Hargis Fellowship are made by instructors in the first-year core courses and forwarded to the Dean of Graduate Studies.

There are two winners of the Hargis fellowship for 2010, Lauren Nys and Joshua Stone.

Lauren Nys

Lauren NysLauren impressed her core-course instructors with her diligence, dedication, and healthy curiosity about marine science. Her enthusiasm is contagious and she does not hesitate to take up challenges. Lauren has excellent organizational skills and becomes a valued member of any research team: she tackles new opportunities eagerly, bringing confidence and poise to the tasks at hand. She demonstrates a keen knack for quickly becoming proficient with laboratory and field techniques.

Shortly after she arrived at VIMS, Lauren was asked to assist Marine Advisory Services with an outreach activity involving summer flounder, a species that would become the focus of her Master’s research. Although she had never seen a summer flounder before arriving in Virginia, she embraced the opportunity to learn about this species and to interact with Virginia anglers. She made an excellent impression and was asked to participate in the event again this year. Most importantly, her commitment to pursue her graduate research on summer flounder was solidified.

Lauren’s gregarious nature, superior academic credentials, and sharp intellect will serve her well in establishing a highly successful career in marine science.

Joshua Stone

Josh StoneJosh Stone is an enthusiastic, engaged, and motivated student who was a pleasure to have in the core classes. His instructors remarked that he was a “bright spot” in the classroom—obviously interested and an active participant. He asked insightful questions in a clearly phrased way, thus helping others understand concepts better. He was also willing and ready to answer questions directed at the class, even first thing in the morning! Josh thought about the material beyond what was presented, which often augmented the lectures and made his instructors think too. During Josh’s short time here he has already excelled in coursework, jumped into the primary literature, and begun developing a novel plan for his dissertation project.

Josh’s budding research interests include investigating the importance of gelatinous zooplankton blooms in Chesapeake Bay and beyond. Jellyfish may be increasing in many coastal areas around the world due to overfishing, eutrophication, introduction of new species, and other unknown factors. Josh will explore the effects of jellyfish blooms on estuarine food webs and on export of organic matter to the benthos. He will also analyze time series of gelatinous zooplankton to determine factors that lead to their episodic but intense blooms. Josh has the right combination of intelligence, curiosity, and enthusiasm to carry him through his dissertation, and we look forward to the results!

Congratulations, Lauren and Josh!