The Everglades Foundation provides fellowships and scholarships for advanced research in support of the restoration of the Florida Everglades. The Foundation is committed to supporting graduate research students actively pursuing the development of innovative scientific methods to advance the understanding of Everglades physical, chemical or biological processes, or research in economic impacts of environmental changes. Please read below for more information on the eligibility and requirements for the different awarded scholarships and fellowships categories.
Current Scholarship Recipients
Chloe’ Vorseth, second-year graduate student at Florida International University, received the 2019 FIU ForEverglades scholarship to assist the Everglades Foundation with several research projects. With guidance from Dr. Mahadev Bhat at FIU and Dr. Andrew Stainback at The Everglades Foundation, Chloe’ is using economic strategies to value fresh water and carbon stored by the Everglades, to value recreational use of Lake Okeechobee, and to understand trade-offs between Endpoint Restoration plans developed by the Everglades Foundation. The results of this research will be used to better understand the life-sustaining services provided by the Everglades, understand the importance of water quality improvements in Lake Okeechobee, and to aid The Everglades Foundation in advising policy makers on the most effective Everglades restoration strategies.
Before her time at Florida International University and the Everglades Foundation, Chloe’ completed her Bachelor’s degree in Natural Resources and Environmental Science at the University of Kentucky, specializing in human dimensions and environmental policy. While attending UK, Chloe’ assisted Dr. Andrew Stainback with research aimed at promoting international management of a national park system bordering Burundi and Rwanda in the Great Lakes region of Africa. Additionally, Chloe’ spent a semester at the University of the Western Cape in Cape Town, South Africa studying ecotourism, human-environment relationships, and primary school environmental education. Through her experiences at UK and UWC, she became inspired to study the complex relationships between humans and the environment. She believes that management of the Everglades is a challenging, unique, and exciting endeavor, that it can be improved through increased interagency cooperation, idea sharing, and public awareness.
Aside from academic interests, Chloe’ enjoys outdoor activities including hiking, biking, gardening, and disc golfing. She also enjoys music, and can often be found playing her violin or saxophone.
University of Florida Ph.D. student Satbyeol Shin received the 2018 Everglades Foundation ForEverglades Scholarship to evaluate climate change impact on water quantity and quality in the upstream Everglades System using spatially integrated modeling approach. In order to deal with current water quality issues and projected climate change impacts on the Everglades system, it is necessary to understand the unique and dynamic waterways from upstream areas of Lake Okeechobee to downstream rivers and estuaries. Satbyeol is developing a spatially integrated simulation tool that will be able to provide a holistic view of the connection between upstream and downstream Everglades system and detailed pictures of climate change impacts on water quantity and quality for upstream Everglades system.
Satbyeol earned both her BA and MA in the Department of Rural Systems Engineering at Seoul National University. While at Seoul National University, Satbyeol participated as a team member in various research projects including developing modeling system for flood management in agricultural watersheds, management criteria for total maximum daily loads (TMDLs), and water quality management plans for non-point source (NPS) pollution control.
As a hydrologist and hydrological modeler, Satbyeol has been involved in several watershed hydrology and water quality studies including developing an integrated sediment transport process modeling tool for estimating sediment inflow and deposition in an agricultural reservoir, quantifying uncertainty in hydrologic/hydraulic modeling, and estimating ungauged river sections for a flood stage analysis, which were published in peer-reviewed journals. More recently, she is coupling a receiving waterbody model to a watershed loading model to build a hydrologic modeling system for a comprehensive analysis of regional-scale watershed and waterbody processes and developing R packages for the rainfall frequency analysis.
Florida International University (FIU) M.Sc. student Eric Massa received the 2018 Everglades Foundation FIU ForEverglades Scholarship to examine the effects of phosphorus on microbial community networks. Throughout the Everglades, microbes including algae form mats called periphyton. Periphyton forms the base of the food web for the Everglades and dissociates in response to excess phosphorus. In order to enhance our understanding of the effects of restoration projects in the Everglades, Eric is looking at how the presence of microbial species and the relationships between species changes with increasing phosphorus in these mats.
Eric’s research expertise is in theoretical ecology, utilizing historical ecological data to determine the structure of communities and how they change in response to changing environmental conditions. Eric earned his B.S. with honors in Biology at the University of Florida (UF). At UF, Eric explored many potential careers that would utilize his interest in biology, including medicine, physical therapy, and education. After working in industry for two years, Eric decided to return to school and follow his passion for ecology.
Eric has travelled extensively for training and has taken courses at the University of Iowa’s Lakeside Lab (UI-LL) on algal taxonomy and at PR Statistics in Glasgow, UK on ecological network analysis. A recipient of the 2017 Charles W. Reimer Scholarship at UI-LL, Eric has presented on diatom reproduction at the 2017 North American Diatom Symposium.
In addition to developing new perspectives on ecological systems, Eric is passionate about public outreach and mental health issues. Eric has participated in various public outreach events during his time in industry and during his graduate program. Most recently, Eric helped run a booth at the FIU BioDiscover event at Fairchild Botanic Tropical Garden in April 2018.
Florida International University (FIU) Ph.D. student Carissa Gervasi received the 2018 Everglades Foundation FIU ForEverglades Scholarship to examine the decline of Crevalle Jack (Caranx hippos) in South Florida and develop a management plan for the unregulated fish species. The Crevalle Jack is an important apex predator in coastal systems such as the Everglades. It is also a highly sought after sportfish and supplies both recreational and commercial fisheries. In recent years, recreational anglers have noticed a decline in Crevalle Jack abundance. Management of this species is important both for commercial and recreational anglers as well as for the structure and functioning of the coastal Everglades. It is possible that marine protected areas, areas closed to fishing, could help replenish the depleted Crevalle Jack population. Carissa’s research will assess the efficacy of protected areas for restoring Crevalle Jack.
Carissa is a fish ecologist by training with a passion for science policy and research focused on how natural resources can be sustainably managed while meeting increasing human needs. Carissa received duel B.S. degrees in Marine Biology and Chemistry from Roger Williams University in 2011, where she studied the ecology of juvenile flatfish and bluefish toxicology. She then went on to pursue an M.S. degree in Marine Science at the Virginia Institute of Marine Science, focusing on fisheries population dynamics and pathobiology in the Chesapeake Bay. After working as a histotechnologist for a few years Carissa decided to go back to school and started a Ph.D. program at FIU in the Earth and Environment department in 2016 working with Dr. Jennifer Rehage.
In addition to working on her dissertation research, Carissa has been an active member of the Florida Coastal Everglades Long Term Ecological Network, serving as president of the graduate student group from 2017-2018 and graduate student site representative at the last LTER All Scientists Meeting in Pacific Grove, CA. Carissa also actively mentors several high school and undergraduate students, teaching them laboratory methods, data analysis, and critical presentation skills. These students assist with a 4-year Everglades National Park funded project of which Carissa is the lead graduate student.
Simona Picardi is a PhD Candidate at the University of Florida, and a recipient of the 2018 Everglades Foundation ForEverglades Scholarship. She is based at the UF Fort Lauderdale Research and Education Center in Davie, FL. For her PhD project, Simona is investigating links between hydrology, individual movement strategies, and fitness in Wood Storks, an important indicator species for Everglades restoration. Using cutting-edge technology such as GPS tracking tools and hydrological data from on-ground geospatial stations, Simona will quantify Wood Stork individual responses to variations in water regimes and evaluate their fitness consequences. This will allow her to assess how changes in hydrology might impact Wood Stork population performance in the face of different environmental change scenarios.
Simona is a quantitative ecologist specializing in spatial and movement ecology of large vertebrates. Simona earned both her BS in Biology and MS in Ecology at the University of Rome La Sapienza, in Italy, where she was born and raised. Her MS research project was conducted in partnership with the Edmund Mach Foundation in San Michele all’Adige, Italy. There, Simona investigated the effects of hunting on movement responses of roe deer, a widespread game species in Europe. Simona is fascinated by movement as a universal component of life histories and a fundamental factor shaping patterns and processes across taxa and ecological systems. Her expertise focuses on the use of movement ecology tools and techniques to learn about animal behavior, disentangle complex feedbacks between individuals and their environment, and inform conservation actions.
In addition to her research, Simona is very passionate about teaching. She is an active member of the Carpentries international organization, whose mission is to foster informatics literacy among researchers worldwide by offering extra-curricular workshops on statistical programming. Simona is a certified Carpentries instructor and started an outreach program to expand the offer of workshops at UF beyond the main campus in Gainesville, to improve learning opportunities for the numerous students and staff working at satellite campuses across the state of Florida. Simona hopes to keep teaching at the forefront of her future scientific career.
Maite De Maria is an International Ph.D.Student at the College of Veterinary Medicine, University of Florida. She received the Everglades Foundation ForEverglades Scholarship to examine the link between agricultural runoff and water quality in outflow from Lake Okeechobee. The Everglades Foundation showed her that it is possible to achieve a sustainable use of the ecosystem. This foundation has supported science towards the restoration of a unique ecosystem, and restoration is now a real possibility in the near horizon. However, there are still some uncertainties associated withwater quality after the lower phosphorous levels are achieved. She will determine the concentration of the widelyused glyphosate in the outflow from Lake Okeechobee, and its possible consequences in the immune systems of wildlife that are chronically exposed.
She is doing her Ph.D.in the Department of Physiological Science and in the Aquatic Animal Health Program as a Fulbright Scholar. She received her master degree in Ecology and Evolution in her home country (Uruguay). Her research has always been related to anthropogenic activities and wildlife, particularly marine mammals. She also participated in a successful interdisciplinary project aimed at understanding problems of artisanal fishers in Uruguay. Among the problems addressed in this participatory project was the interaction of fishermen with sea lions. Together they developed a plan to change the way fishing gear was used to diminish the interaction with these marine mammals. She has also worked with trace elements in sea lions and its trophic transfer. Now at UF, Maite is making her own path in research in toxicology with the guidance of experienced and innovative advisors, working with novel techniques such as non-invasive biomarkers for contaminant exposure.
In addition to learning molecular techniques to assess the consequences of wildlife exposure to contaminants, Maite is the current president of the Veterinary Graduate Student Association (VGSA), at UF. VGSA fosters an environment that encourages excellence in graduate research, scientific ethics, and exchange of ideas among graduate students.
2019 ForEverglades Impact Report
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