Zeigler Student Achievement Award

The 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 award is presented annually for recognition of scholarly, professional, and personal integrity, and for the contributions made to the VIMS through enthusiastic participation in its academic and research programs.

This year’s award recipient is Dave Hewitt.

Dave Hewitt’s accomplishments in the School of Marine Science have been exceptional. As a Willard A. Van Engel fellowship recipient, Dave has successfully integrated fisheries science, ecological processes, and statistical theory in his dissertation research, which has so far resulted in five papers either published or in press, and two more in preparation. Dave made it a point to apply his research in a broader arena, specifically to fisheries management of the blue crab, which has suffered an 80% population decline in recent years. Dave used state-of-the-art tag-recapture techniques and advanced statistical methods to estimate natural mortality of the blue crab. The results were vital to the 2006 Blue Crab Stock Assessment and his prominent contributions led to his designation as a co-author of the stock assessment, a rare circumstance for a graduate student.

In addition, Dave’s activities with the Graduate Student Association have been instrumental in revising the core course structure of the School of Marine Science, and his initiative with Information-Theoretic Methods of Scientific Inference led to adoption of this highly effective mode of inference by numerous faculty, staff, and students of the institute. Simply put, Dave has been one of the brightest, most independent, and hard-working graduate students of the School of Marine Science. Dave is truly an exemplary VIMS student and highly deserving of the Zeigler award.

Congratulations, Dave