Max Miller Hollings picture

Max Miller, one of the NOAA Hollings Scholars, poses for a picture. The scholarship includes a two-year scholarship and a 10-week paid internship at a NOAA facility.

Eckerd College has in the past produced a high number of NOAA Hollings Scholars and Goldwater Scholars, and this year was no different. In total, six Eckerd students have received the NOAA Hollings Scholarship and two have received the Goldwater Scholarship. 

Sophomores Hana Koilpillai, Max Miller, Mathias James Stamper, Nicole Vandale, Renee Veldman and Mark Yamane were chosen to be Holling Scholars. Juniors Celina Ceballos* and Mlana Lore were awarded the Goldwater Scholarship

The announcement comes at an unprecedented time of remote learning for Eckerd. Veldman spoke about how she found out.

“I actually found out I had received the scholarship during one of my online classes. The notification for the email had popped up on my screen,” Veldman said. “I was so shocked, that I immediately put myself on mute, turned off my camera, ran to tell my mom, and then returned to class.”

The scholarship, named the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Ernest F. Hollings Scholarship, grants up to $9,500 per year for two years as well as a 10-week, paid internship with NOAA between the recipient’s junior and sophomore years. This opportunity can be life-changing for its recipients, which makes it one of the most sought-after among the marine science discipline. 

Sophomore Hana Koilpillai, one of the Hollings recipients, is also excited for this opportunity. 

“Studying marine biology has been a lifetime dream of mine and I am both honored and thrilled to be a recipient of the Hollings Scholarship,” Koilpillai said. “I am excited for the opportunity to spend next summer as an intern at a NOAA facility and grow as a scientist. I know that this scholarship will jumpstart my future in marine science and I can’t wait to see where it leads me.” 

For the application, the recipients’ mentors guide them along the process as they acquire references and write an essay about their career interest and educational plan, along with maintaining a 3.0 GPA. Max Miller was grateful for the help he received from his mentors. 

“Receiving the Hollings Scholarship was life-changing news, and I have so many amazing mentors at Eckerd to thank for motivating and inspiring me along the way,” Miller said. “I couldn’t have done this on my own.” 

The Barry Goldwater Scholarship is another that continues to be popular among Eckerd students. This year, juniors Ceballos and Lore receive this scholarship of up to $7,500 for their senior year. The scholarship was established in 1986 to honor former senator Barry Goldwater and is granted to high-performing students in the fields of natural sciences, mathematics and engineering. 

Lore believes that she gained a lot from her pursuit of being a Goldwater Scholar. 

“I guess the most important thing I got out of the process was that it can be worth pursuing things that seem totally unattainable, because I thought there was no chance of me getting this scholarship, but on a whim I decided to really put in the work and apply,” Lore said. “It still seems completely surreal.”

Eckerd’s noteworthy amount of Hollings and Goldwater scholars has continued to grow this year, and it seems this trend will continue with the backing of a strong marine science program and supportive faculty mentors. 

*Celina Ceballos is a reporter for The Current

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