New Cohort of Sea Grant Scholars Enjoy a Mostly Dry Week of Watershed Activities

By Anna Marchessault
September 25, 2023

The week before classes began at the University of Vermont, our new cohort of Sea Grant Scholars participated in the third Sea Grant Scholars orientation week. Five new Sea Grant Scholars are joining us this year, Laila Mari Leo and Leo Rabinovich from the College of Engineering and Mathematical Sciences, Grace Wang and Adrianna Cartier from the Rubenstein School for the Environment and Natural Resources, and Adeeta Singh from the College of Arts and Sciences. Learn more about this year’s scholars and meet our past scholars.

Sea Grant Scholars are undergraduate students at the University of Vermont that have been awarded a 13-month Sea Grant Scholarship including a financial academic scholarship, a paid internship experience, and professional development opportunities.

During their orientation week, the cohort met the staff and fellows at Lake Champlain Sea Grant, learned about the mission and values of the organization, and participated in a variety of tours and trainings.

The scholars began the week getting to know one another as they paddled with fellows, staff, and partners to learn about the geography and habitats of the Ausable River, a major tributary to Lake Champlain. The following day, they collected and identified microplastics at Sand Bar State Park beach and spent the afternoon aboard the R/V Marcelle Melosira with our LCSG Watershed Education staff and new Watershed Alliance interns. Next, they headed to the Community Sailing Center for a peaceful morning on the water learning about the Champlain Thrust Fault and the geologic history of the basin followed by a workshop in science communications. They concluded the week with resume and cover letter workshops and a tour of Sweet Sound Aquaculture and the Vermont Malthouse in the Earthkeep Farmcommon.

“I really appreciated my experience with Lake Champlain Sea Grant,” shared Grace. “Spending a few days getting to know Lake Champlain was a great way to start the year.”

By this time next year, these scholars will be finishing up their summer internships that will be coordinated and funded through this program. They will each be matched with a STEM-focused business or organization involved in developing and sharing science-based information to benefit the environment or local economies in the Lake Champlain basin or in their hometown watershed.

“Supporting the Sea Grant Scholars program in partnership with the Rubenstein School of Environment and Natural Resources, the Environmental Studies Program, the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, the College of Engineering and Math, and our program partners throughout the basin is a privilege,” said Kris Stepenuck, Associate Director and Extension Leader for Lake Champlain Sea Grant. “This is our third cohort of Scholars, and each cohort is unique and special in its own way. I look forward to the year ahead with this new group.”

The Sea Grant Scholars program supports diverse scholars, selected based on academic ability, commitment to a career in science or related field, financial need, and first-generation college student status. The Scholars program strives to grow representation of and help to prepare Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC), and/or first-generation college students for successful careers in science, science communications, technology, policy, natural resources management, engineering, or related fields. If you’re interested in becoming a Sea Grant Scholar, learn more about the scholarship.