Monday, May 14, 2012

Florida Tech Student Receives SOBAC Fellowship for Environmental Studies

MELBOURNE, FLA.—Holly Sweat, a doctoral student in oceanography at Florida Institute of Technology, Department of Marine and Environmental Systems (DMES), was recently awarded a fellowship from the Save Our Bay, Air and Canals/Waterways (SOBAC) Endowed Fellowship Fund. Sweat is director of the DMES Marine and Environmental Summer Camp, conducts research on the recruitment of native and exotic marine species, and teaches several department courses. She was honored at a ceremony in late April.

A resident of Melbourne Beach, Sweat earned a bachelor’s degree in marine science from Eckerd College in St. Petersburg, Fla., and a master’s in biological oceanography from Florida Tech. She is a 1998 graduate of Daviess County High School in Owensboro, Ky.

The first SOBAC fellowship was awarded in 2011 to Jayden Roberts. He researches the implications of invasive species on native ecosystems.

Before it was dissolved in 2006, SOBAC was a nonprofit, citizen-based volunteer organization initially formed in 1999 to question placing the world’s largest desalination plant on the Tampa Bay Estuary. SOBAC experts put on record the organization’s many environmental concerns regarding the plant’s potential effect on water quality. The organization tackled other issues as well, which met their goals to preserve, protect and improve both air and water quality throughout the Tampa Bay region.

A DMES alumnus who was active with SOBAC suggested that the funds remaining in the SOBAC account be used to create a fellowship. With SOBAC’s initial gift of $21,661 to Florida Tech, an endowment fund was established in 2006 to assist graduate students in their studies of air and water quality.

Donations may be made to the SOBAC Endowed Fellowship Fund by calling (321) 674-6162, sending e-mail to Gretchen Sauerman at [email protected], or writing to the Florida Institute of Technology Office of Development, 150 W. University Blvd., Melbourne, Fla., 32901.

Florida Tech’s marine science program is part of the DMES. The department offers undergraduate and graduate degrees in coastal zone management, earth remote sensing, environmental science, environmental resource management, meteorology, ocean engineering and oceanography.

PHOTO: From left, On Tampa Bay, Holly Sweat; George Maul, head of the Florida Tech department of marine and environmental systems; and Jayden Roberts, the 2011 SOBAC Scholar.