Fellowship enhances environmental studies
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Fellowship enhances
environmental studies

Photo by Sheri D. Thomas

Adam Luckenbach’s trip to the World Aquaculture Society conference and the laptop computer he used in his flounder research were financed by a fellowship aimed at helping students solve some of North Carolina’s most important environmental problems. He is one of four winners of the $10,000 2002-03 Governor and Mrs. Dan K. Moore Fellowship to Keep North Carolina Clean and Beautiful.

The fellowship is a partnership between N.C. State University and N.C. Beautiful, a nonprofit organization focused on protecting, preserving and enhancing the state’s appearance and educating students and citizens about sustaining the environment. N.C. Beautiful pays half of each fellowship with proceeds from an annual golf and social event. The student’s college or department contributes the other half.

A total of 12 N.C. State students have received the award since its inception in 1995, one each year until 2001, when two students received the award. This year, contigency funds were used to award four fellowships because this year’s candidates were so strong, said Jane Rogers, the director of N.C. Beautiful.

Winners for 2002-03 were Luckenbach of Asheboro; Corey Oakley of New Bern, who recently earned a master’s degree in zoology; Natalie Reyns of Morehead City, a doctoral student in marine, earth and atmospheric sciences; and Srinivas Sirpurapu, of Raleigh, a doctoral student in chemical engineering.

In the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, students from the departments of Horticultural Science, Soil Science, Zoology, Biological and Agricultural Engineering and Botany are eligible to compete.

The selection process for the fellowship is demanding: Students must prepare half-page research summaries, then take part in telephone interviews. Finalists then make presentations and answer questions before a panel of government, education and industry representatives.

Fellows’ research topics have spanned a deliberately wide spectrum, said Rogers. They’ve studied new processes for industrial cleaning and microchip coating, animal waste management, aquaculture development, endangered species protection and more.

“ Our goal is to develop a cadre of highly trained scientists to help solve the environmental problems of the state,” she said.

For Luckenbach, who plans to graduate in 2004, winning the fellowship has allowed him to take advantage of opportunities that could open career doors. At the aquaculture conference, he developed new contacts within a society that has 4,000 members in 94 countries.

“ I want to continue working as a research biologist, and the meeting gave me a chance to talk to people at other universities about doing a post-doc for three or four years,” he said. “I love this project. It’s been a great opportunity.”

— Dee Shore

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