Mechanical engineering undergraduate student Jennifer Thompson was awarded a prestigious National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Ernest F. Hollings scholarship. Thompson was one of four students from Maryland to win the award, granted to only 100 students in the United States each year. Thompson is also a participant in the Gemstone honors program on the College Park campus, which is directed by Professor of Mechanical Engineering James Wallace.

?I applied for this scholarship/internship because I thought it would be a good opportunity to do something different,? says Thompson, who also has had previous internship experiences working at KCI Technologies, Inc. (an engineering firm) and the Whiting-Turner Contracting Company. Thompson adds, ?I wanted to explore other areas of engineering and I thought an NOAA internship would be a good way to do that.?

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Ernest F. Hollings (Hollings) scholarship program is designed to: (1) increase undergraduate training in oceanic and atmospheric science, research, technology, and education and foster multidisciplinary training opportunities; (2) increase public understanding and support for stewardship of the ocean and atmosphere and improve environmental literacy; (3) recruit and prepare students for public service careers with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and other natural resource and science agencies at the federal, state and local levels of government; and (4) recruit and prepare students for careers as teachers and educators in oceanic and atmospheric science and to improve scientific and environmental education in the United States.

The scholarship provides:

Up to $8,000 of academic assistance per school year for full-time study during the junior and senior years;

A required, 10-week, paid ($650/week) internship during the summer between the junior and senior years at NOAA or a NOAA approved facility;

A housing subsidy during the internship and limited reimbursement for round-trip travel to the internship site for scholars who do not reside at home during the summer internship;

Travel expenses to the Hollings scholarship program conference at the completion of the internship.

Thompson is also interested in the business aspect of engineering. ?I am currently working on a Gemstone team and we are working to market a new technology. The mix of engineering and business appeals to me and might be a direction I would like to take after graduation. As I said before, I think the NOAA internship will be a good way to get involved in a different aspect of engineering, which could lead to future career.?

In the Gemstone Program, Thompson has been a Gems100 section leader for the past two years. This involves co-leading an introductory course for Gemstone freshman once a week for an hour and a half. She was also a Gems102 section leader last spring, which involved leading a class helping freshmen brainstorm and choose topics for their research projects.

Other scholarship winners from Maryland include Nikhil Joshi, Alex Lockwood, and Mustafa Abdullah.

October 15, 2005

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