Pamela Eck ’15, a geoscience major with a focus in atmospheric science, has been awarded a place in the highly prestigious and 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 a Hollings Scholar, Eck will be provided with up to $8,000 in academic assistance and a 10-week, paid full-time summer internship at a NOAA facility in the summer of 2014. Awards also include all travel expenses to attend orientations and conferences.
“Since I have been here, the faculty members in the department of geoscience have been very encouraging of all students, repeatedly going out of the way to help students find opportunities like this,” says Assistant Professor of Geoscience Nicholas Metz, who is Eck’s adviser. “I’m so glad to be part of a department that encourages students to seek out these outside opportunities. Experiences like the NOAA Hollings Scholarship will open many doors for Pamela and any future students who may receive them.”
With an interest in geoscience dating back to the eighth grade, Eck recalls falling in love with the topic of weather during a unit in an earth science class.
“I knew right then that I wanted to be a meteorologist some day,” she says.
In high school, however, a local forecaster told her that she could only become a meteorologist if she attended a “big university” and Eck had already made up her mind that she was going to attend HWS.
“It wasn’t until after I arrived at HWS my first year that I discovered I actually could study meteorology at HWS through the geoscience department,” she says, adding she recounted this story in the application essay for the Hollings Scholarship.
“If you look at the 2013 Hollings awardees, many come from large state schools,” says Metz. “This shows that students like Pamela are receiving the education within the sciences that they need to compete with students from any institution, while also getting the additional experience that comes with receiving a liberal arts education.”
Last summer, Eck was granted an opportunity to study on the Island of Hawaii (Big Island) as part of the GEO 299 Field Studies course. There, she studied lava flows, tsunami faults, sea breezes, and more. Additionally, she participated in research with Assistant Professor of Geoscience Nicholas Metz last summer through the HWS Summer Research Opportunities Program. Her topic was “The Impact of Extreme Precipitation Events on Climatology,” and she has since been funded by the Colleges to present the research at several conferences including the American Meteorological Society annual meeting and the Northeast Storm Conference.
“Pamela has worked extremely hard at HWS,” says Metz. “She has put in the time and effort necessary to ensure that she stands out as an excellent candidate. Thus, even though the program is extremely competitive, Pamela is very deserving of being awarded one of the positions.”
On campus, Eck serves as the president of Habitat for Humanity, is a Civic Leader through CCESL, and is a tour guide at the Office of Admissions.
This summer Eck will be doing research for the Department of Atmospheric, Oceanic, and Space Science at the University of Michigan. In the fall, she will be continuing her research from last summer as an independent study under the advisement of Metz.