NOAA 03-R435
Contact: Glenda Tyson
NOAA News Releases 2003
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East Carolina University student Kelly Ann Gleason has been selected as one of four national recipients of the Dr. Nancy Foster Scholarship for outstanding graduate-level scholars in the fields of marine biology, coastal resource management, and maritime archeology. Presented annually by the Department of Commerce’s National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), the scholarships were established in memory of Dr. Foster’s 23-year tenure at NOAA.

Gleason, a resident of Greenville, N.C. is currently pursuing her doctorate in coastal resources management at East Carolina University. Gleason’s background is in nautical archaeology and maritime history. Her research focuses on understanding ways to mitigate the damage that might occur during underwater archaeological field work, and ways to inform managers and archaeologists of policies involving natural, as well as submerged cultural resources. Gleason is eager to continue to develop her skills as a resource manager and to communicate the significance of submerged cultural resources to the public.

The scholarships were established in memory of Dr. Foster. A leader in marine resource conservation, she was inspirational in her role as one of the top senior executives in the marine field. In her 23-year career at NOAA, she became assistant administrator of the National Ocean Service, the first career woman to lead one of NOAA's principal line offices. She demonstrated an on-going commitment to mentoring and supporting women and minorities in the marine sciences throughout her career.

“Dr. Nancy Foster was an exceptional member of the NOAA team. Her life’s work was committed to conserving our coastal and marine environments. This year’s scholarship recipients represent that same enthusiasm to preserving these precious resources,” said retired Navy Vice Adm. Conrad C. Lautenbacher, Ph.D., undersecretary of commerce for oceans and atmosphere and NOAA administrator. “This program exemplifies Dr. Foster’s devotion to providing equal opportunities and achieving professional goals.”

Congress created the scholarship in 2000 as a means of honoring her life's work and contribution to the nation. The funding is drawn from the National Marine Sanctuaries Act which is administered by NOAA's National Ocean Service. The current funding enables NOAA to award four scholarships in 2003. Each scholarship recipient will receive an annual stipend of $20,000 and up to $12,000 annually for tuition. Doctoral students are eligible to continue the scholarship program for four years and master’s level students for two years.

The three other 2003 scholarship recipients are:

  • Kurt Bretsch, Georgetown, S.C. - Kurt Bretsch is currently pursuing his doctorate in marine biology from the University of South Carolina, Columbia. Bretsch has created and successfully used a technique that demonstrates clear, fine-scale patterns to the tidal migrations of fishes, shrimps, and crabs in intertidal creeks. He would like to continue his research by conducting a series of experiments investigating the effects of biological factors on migration patterns of intertidal creek organisms. Upon graduation, Bretsch would like to teach in the fields of marine and coastal conservation.
  • Erik E. Cordes, Pine Grove Mills, Pa. - Erik E. Cordes is currently pursuing his doctorate in marine biology from Penn State University. Cordes is interested in researching ways to conserve and protect deep sea corals. His research goals include expanding current ecological theory on foundation species to include their significant role in providing habitat which affects community structure in the deep sea. Upon graduation, Cordes would like to teach others about the importance of biogenic habitat to the deep-sea community.
  • Rachel Lynelle Horlings, Tallahassee, Fla. - Rachel Lynelle Horlings is pursuing her masters in anthropology with a focus in maritime archaeology from Florida State University. Horlings has had a fascination in archaeology since her childhood and is especially interested in expanding the public’s understanding of the slave trade from Africa. Currently she is on a deep sea exploration project in the Black Sea. In the future, Horlings would like to pursue her a doctorate in scientific archaeology.

This is the third year of the scholarship program and NOAA received 76 applications, representing all the coastal regions of the United States, including Alaska, Hawaii and Puerto Rico. The applications were ranked by a panel of NOAA scientists and finalists were selected based on their ranking scores, financial need, academic excellence, recommendations, and research and career goals.

The Dr. Nancy Foster Scholarship announcement for the 2004-2005 school year was released in the NOAA Federal Register Omnibus Notice dated June 30, 2003, entitled Availability of Grant Funds for Fiscal Year 2004.

NOAA's National Ocean Service (NOS) is dedicated to exploring, understanding, conserving and restoring the nation’s coasts and oceans. It balances environmental protection with economic prosperity in fulfilling its mission of promoting safe navigation, supporting coastal communities, sustaining coastal habitats and mitigating coastal hazards. NOS is an agency of the U.S. Department of Commerce's National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

NOAA is dedicated to enhancing economic security and national safety through the prediction and research of weather and climate-related events and providing environmental stewardship of our nation’s coastal and marine resources.

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