The John M. & Marilyn Zeigler Student Achievement Award honors the past contributions to student needs of Dr. John Zeigler, the first SMS Associate Dean of Graduate Studies, and the continuing contributions of Mrs. Marilyn Zeigler. The Zeigler award formally recognizes students who excel in scholarship, leadership, research initiative, outstanding publications, and exceptional thesis or dissertation work.
This year’s award recipient is Mr. Samuel Lake.
Sam’s dissertation research, centered on quantifying system metabolism and the drivers of periodic hypoxia in shallow estuaries, embodies VIMS’ interdisciplinary focus through a combination of field studies and ecosystem modeling. His research focuses on the response of hypoxia to the current “natural experiment” taking place in systems worldwide as nutrient loads are reduced concurrent with ongoing climate change. Sam’s work has already resulted in one publication and multiple presentations at professional meetings, with a second manuscript in review.
Sam is especially deserving of the Zeigler Award due to his leadership and exceptional contributions to the VIMS educational mission. He served brilliantly as a TA for MSCI 503 to rave reviews from the students, and has continued to provide invaluable support in subsequent semesters. Sam is also in the second year of his GK12 fellowship and has emerged as a leader in that program, playing a major role in the “Draw a Scientist” activity. Sam’s success in GK12 is evidenced by a 99% SOL pass rate in his class last fall.
Sam has also been extremely active in student governance, professional service, and outreach. Given these many extraordinary contributions to the VIMS tripartite mission, Sam is highly deserving of this year’s Zeigler Award.