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.

The co-winners of the William J. Hargis, Jr. Fellowship for 2007 are Steven Baer & Mark Henderson.

Steve Baer received a B.A. from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, in Social Thought and Political Economy. He was less than a stellar student back then—we suspect beer may have been involved. After working for years in the corporate world, he decided to do what he had always wanted to do—science! He went back to college, receiving a B.S. in Biology from the University of Massachusetts, Boston, in 2007. This time he was a star student. While at UMass Boston he worked with Juanita Urban-Rich on carbon cycling in copepods and got his first taste of oceanography. He has approached his studies at VIMS with great enthusiasm. While many first years complain about the core courses, Steven tends to walk around with a smile on his face, appreciating the simple joy that he’ll be able to wear tennis shoes and khakis to work for the rest of his life. Though he is still developing his research prospectus, he’s thinking big-picture nitrogen cycling, preferably in exotic locations.

Mark Henderson has demonstrated superior academic performance and shows exceptional promise for a successful career in marine science. Mark arrived at VIMS with an outstanding record of academic and workplace accomplishments, and a strong determination to pursue his Ph.D. degree. Previous experiences conducting fisheries field research provided Mark with the confidence, maturity, and focus necessary for successful multi-tasking, a skill particularly well suited to academic life. In part, this award recognizes Mark’s academic achievements, especially the scholarship he demonstrated in the core courses. This award also acknowledges Mark’s promise as a marine scientist. He has a keen ability to grasp complex material and thoughtfully integrate new concepts; these skills and abilities will serve him well as he pursues his professional goals in the years to come.

Mark received his B.S. degree in Biology cum laude from the State University of New York, College at Geneseo and his M.S. degree in Aquatic and Fishery Sciences from the University of Washington. He has conducted field work in the Pacific northwest, the wilds of Alaska, and now in Chesapeake Bay, where he has been studying the ecology of summer flounder using acoustic telemetry with Dr. Mary Fabrizio and Jon Lucy. Mark has already contributed a number of novel approaches to analyzing fisheries acoustic data and his Ph.D. work holds promise of furthering our understanding of estuarine fish ecology. We look forward to his continuing success!

Congratulations, Steve and Mark!