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Thursday, September 09, 2010

SU Students Earn Prestigious EPA Fellowships

Emily Thorpe Jonne Woodard
Emily Thorpe Jonne Woodard

SALISBURY, MD---Salisbury University environmental studies majors Emily Thorpe and Jonné Woodard will have a rare chance to study alongside some of the most knowledgeable environmental scientists in the United States as recipients of the Environmental Protection Agency’s 2010 Greater Research Opportunity fellowships.

Only 30 of the awards are given each year, worth $42,700 each. The fellowships provide students with college funding for their junior and senior years, as well as paid internships at EPA facilities during the summer between those years.

“To be two out of 30 in the entire country is impressive,” said Dr. Mike Lewis, director of SU’s Environmental Studies Program, adding that SU was the only campus to receive two of the awards this year. “They’re brilliant and incredibly gifted people.”

Thorpe, a junior from Glenn Dale, MD, became interested in environmentalism while growing up near the Chesapeake Bay. Elementary school field trips to places such as animal research centers attracted Woodard, a junior from Bowie, MD.

 As environmental studies majors, they are pursuing a plan of study that crosses disciplines, including the natural sciences, social sciences and humanities. “It’s really unusual for a student to excel in all of these areas, but they do,” said Lewis. “Being able to cross those boundaries is what makes them special.”

They also are involved in campus beyond the classroom. Thorpe is a member of SU’s Outdoor Club and an advisor for the University’s “green” Living-Learning Community residence hall floor. Woodard leads SU’s Liturgical Dance Team, serves as an admissions host and is conducting undergraduate research with the University’s Bacterial Source Tracking Laboratory.

“They are model SU students,” said Lewis. “The University’s motto is ‘Learn, Live, Lead,’ and they do all of that.”

Thorpe spent last summer studying tropical conservation in Costa Rica. She already has her eye on attending graduate school to pursue her interest in wetlands protection, sea level rise and the impact of development on waterways.

Woodard has chosen the graduate school she hopes to attend—Johns Hopkins University—where she wants to pursue a Master of Public Health. Her research interests include the contaminating effects of household products such as cleaning supplies on people, animals and the environment. She hopes her experience with the EPA will help her decide what environmental career path to choose.

Both students said their classes and professors at SU had helped fuel their passion for the environment and affirmed their dedication to working in the field.

For more information call 410-543-6030 or visit the SU Web site at www.salisbury.edu.



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