Scholars

Nidhi Konnanur

2022-2023 Sea Grant Scholar at the University of Vermont
Institution: College of Arts and Sciences
Education:
  • Major in Neuroscience

Nidhi was born in California and is enjoying the abundant nature in Vermont. She is a Neuroscience major in the College of Arts and Sciences. She loves photography, interior design, reading and likes to observe the connection between nature and humans. She has participated in programs oriented towards social service and has spent over 200 hours volunteering. She helps non- profit organizations in her spare time and enjoys hiking with her family on weekends.

Chiamaka Ozigbo

2022-2023 Sea Grant Scholar at the University of Vermont
Institution: College of Engineering and Mathematical Sciences
Education:
  • Major in Biomedical Engineering with a Minor in Mathematics

Chiamaka was born and raised in Enugu, Nigeria and moved to the United States to further her education. She is a second-year student in Biomedical Engineering at The University of Vermont. She is an active member of the National Society of Black Engineers at UVM. She is also the Event Coordinator of the African Students Association, and her passion is to help black students achieve their goal. Her greatest pride is in God. Getting a degree in Biomedical Engineering will serve as a long-term goal of getting into the medical field, saving lives and building new equipment while being a role model to young black women.

Graecia Aine Pacheco

2022-2023 Sea Grant Scholar at the University of Vermont
Institution: College of Agriculture and Life Sciences
Education:
  • Major in Microbiology

Graecia grew up in Crofton, Maryland but immigrated from the Philippines when she was a child. As a Microbiology major, she aims to study the epidemiology of tropical and reemerging infectious diseases. She is also interested in utilizing environmental microbes as endogenous inhibitors as a possible alternative to antibiotics. In her free time, Graecia serves as co-music director for the University of Vermont's only female and non-binary acapella group, The Cat's Meow, and enjoys crocheting, reading romance novels, and hammocking with her friends. As a Sea Grant Scholar, Graecia is looking forward to learning more about Lake Champlain and sustaining its ecosystem in relation to microbes and improving her environmental literacy skills!

Maxine Asmussen

Maxine Asmussen

2021-2022 Sea Grant Scholar at University of Vermont
Institution: Rubenstein School '24
Education:
  • Major in Environmental Sciences with a minor in Community and International Development

Maxine is majoring in Environmental Sciences with a minor in Community and International Development. She grew up in the San Francisco Bay Area of California before completing high school in New Hampshire, where she has grown to love New England winters and the beauty of the White Mountains. She is particularly interested in sustainability, minimizing waste, and expanding her knowledge of the impact climate change has on the planet. When she’s not studying, Maxine enjoys a challenging backpacking trip, attempting a new bouldering route, and finding new vegan foods to try.

James Se Yoon Cairn

James Se Yoon Cairn

2021-2022 Sea Grant Scholar at University of Vermont
Institution: College of Engineering and Mathematical Sciences '23
Education:
  • Major in Environmental Engineering

James was born in Seoul, South Korea and was adopted at six months old and moved to Minneapolis, Minnesota and then to Amherst, Massachusetts at age five. Growing up in New England, he instantly fell in love with the outdoors. James chose Environmental Engineering as a major because as a child he was always building and problem solving. He wants to make an impact to do good in the world and use his education to protect the environment. He has traveled many places to experience the outdoors and loves to explore. He also loves any team sports and competing at any level!

Paige Carpenter

Paige Carpenter

2021-2022 Sea Grant Scholar at University of Vermont
Institution: Rubenstein School '23
Education:
  • Major in Environmental Studies with minors in Spanish and Geospatial Technologies

Growing up near the beach, Paige felt happiest swimming and surfing in the ocean. In the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy, she experienced firsthand a natural disaster and the threat it posed to her town and its beaches. Her love for the sea evolved into a passion to study this intricate system and the impacts of climate change on coastal communities. Paige enjoys the freedom to explore these interests while also learning about environmental issues in Vermont. She has been a watershed educator with Lake Champlain Sea Grant for two years. Paige sees the Sea Grant Scholars Program as an opportunity to meet students and professionals also passionate about these local and global issues. She hopes this experience will contribute to her career goal of researching coastal restoration.

Mariah Choiniere

Mariah Choiniere

2021-2022 Sea Grant Scholar at University of Vermont
Institution: Rubenstein School '23
Education:
  • Major in Forestry

Mariah is an avid backpacker, and she has completed both the Appalachian and Pacific Crest Trails. Prior to the University of Vermont (UVM), she served multiple terms with the Conservation Corps and spent a summer as a wildland firefighter with the U.S. Forest Service. These experiences helped inspire her studies, and she is thankful that the UVM Forestry Program continues to keep her outdoors. Mariah has been involved with stewarding UVM’s Natural Areas and has recently been elected Treasurer of the UVM Forestry Club. As a Sea Grant Scholar, Mariah looks forward to developing her science communication skills to help inform management practices in the Champlain Valley.

Ishan Maratha

Ishan Maratha

2021-2022 Sea Grant Scholar at University of Vermont
Institution: College of Arts and Sciences '24
Education:
  • Major in Environmental Studies

Ishan is from Piscataway, New Jersey. He likes watching movies, basketball, gardening, hiking, and seeking out new and interesting experiences. As an environmental major, he is excited to help address the pressing environmental challenges of our time. As a first-year student he interned with Sustainable Transportation Vermont, where he worked to promote and advocate for green transportation-related infrastructure in Vermont. As a Sea Grant Scholar, he looks forward to seeing and better understanding the various considerations that go into creating environmental policies. 

Margaret Polifrone

Margaret Polifrone

2021-2022 Sea Grant Scholar at University of Vermont
Institution: College of Arts and Sciences '23
Education:
  • Major in Biological Sciences with a minor in Chemistry

Margaret is from southwest New Hampshire. She was drawn to the University of Vermont for the greenery, mountains, and community. She has camped at North Hero and visited Burlington during the summer since she was a little girl and decided to make it her second home. In her free time, she loves hanging with friends outside, swimming, cooking, and playing intramural soccer. Drawn to science, especially marine biology, she enjoys learning about the “whys” of the world. Margaret hopes to continue to learn and work in the environmental science field and looks forward to opportunities through Sea Grant and working more in the outdoors with kids.

View Margaret's poster, Using Diatoms to Reconstruct Eutrophication in Lake Carmi, VT (PDF), presented at the Fall 2021 Global Lake Ecological Observatory Network (GLEON) conference and based on her Sea Grant Scholar summer internship at the University of Vermont.

Jolie Scott

Jolie Scott

2021-2022 Sea Grant Scholar at University of Vermont
Institution: Rubenstein School '23
Education:
  • Major in Environmental Sciences with a concentration in Ecological Design and a minor in Geospatial Technologies

Jolie is from Woodbury, Connecticut. She plans to combine her experience with green infrastructure and her knowledge in geospatial technologies to develop a spatial planning model for sustainable green infrastructure in the future. She has worked at the Rubenstein Ecosystem Science Lab by the waterfront to document water samples from Alaska. Outside of school, she is a big fan of slacklining, bouldering, and laying around outside. She is also deeply intrigued by caves and volcanoes!

Olivia Szumski

Olivia Szumski

2021-2022 Sea Grant Scholar at University of Vermont
Institution: College of Engineering and Mathematical Sciences '24
Education:
  • Major in Civil Engineering

Olivia is from Ludlow, Massachusetts. Her hobbies include skiing with friends at Sugarbush Resort on the weekends, hiking and camping, enjoying the water whether for recreational use with friends or teaching swimming lessons, hammocking with good music and a sketch book, and trying new restaurants in Burlington.