Maria Tarduno ’13 has been awarded a place in the highly competitive Ernest F. Hollings Undergraduate Scholarship Program. The program, offered through the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), seeks to increase undergraduate training in oceanic and atmospheric science, research, technology, outreach and education.
As an accepted Hollings Scholar, Tarduno will be provided with up $8,000 in academic assistance, a 10-week, full-time, summer paid internship at a NOAA facility, during which scholars earn $650 per week. Awards also include all travel expenses to attend mandatory orientations and conferences.
Tarduno says it was her Conservation Biology class her first year on campus that sparked her interest in understanding the ecosystem and its intricate interactions. “Nature creates a field of constantly changing information offering new ideas every day; these everyday occurrences drive my curiosity to understand the environment,” explains Tarduno, a double major in environmental studies and dance. “My passion to understand the many perspectives of how ecosystems function and my desire to experiment with strategies to conserve and protect resources complements NOAA’s mission to conserve and manage resources.”
Tarduno expanded her love of environmental science through firsthand exploration in the fall of 2010 when she studied abroad in Queensland, Australia. “It was a life-changing experience that allowed me to explore nature through fieldwork and individual research,” says Tarduno. During her time in Australia and New Zealand, she studied zooplankton abundance and composition, experimented with coral bleaching, and participated in active international research with the Climate-Leaf Analysis Multivariate Program and the Coral Watch Program.
On campus, Tarduno volunteers with the EcoFusion environmental afterschool program and Roots & Shoots, a community-based environmental outreach organization sponsored by the Jane Goodall Institute. She is part of the Center for Community Engagement and Service Learning’s Civic Leadership Program and HWS Habitat for Humanity. Tarduno also skates with the HWS Figure Skating Club, of which she is a co-founder, and serves as a teaching assistant in dance.
In the future, Tarduno would like to attend a graduate school where she can combine her interests in conservation and economics – her minor – eventually developing conservation projects and aiding in sustainability efforts.
“I can see the positive effects that environmental insight has made on my everyday life choices,” says Tarduno. “I hope that through passing on my own ideas, I will be able to affect the lifestyles of others in a positive, sustainable way.”