ForEverglades Fellowships & Scholarships
The Everglades Foundation provides fellowships and scholarships for advanced research in support of the restoration of America’s 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 fellowships and scholarships.
Please check back in April 2020 for the next application process!
2019 ForEverglades Fellowship & Scholarship Recipients
Florida Atlantic University Ph.D. student David Essian received the 2019 ForEverglades Scholarship to investigate potential impacts of water level fluctuations on wading bird prey availability in Lake Okeechobee’s littoral marsh. Lake Okeechobee is managed to balance human demands for water and ecological benefits of naturally occurring variation in water levels. Efforts to develop future management strategies within the watershed are currently underway, yet there are few tools to predict ecological response to hydropatterns at the lake. To provide managers with predictive tools, David is developing models of small fish availability in habitats suitable for wading bird foraging.
David is an aquatic ecologist specializing in ornithology, restoration ecology, and statistical modeling. He earned his BA and MA in Biology at Northern Michigan University, where he studied trophic relationships between aquatic invasive species and avian botulism type E die-offs in Lake Michigan. He is currently developing statistical models that can predict the effects of hydropatterns on wading birds and small fish, two important indicator taxa in the region, in order to inform future water management strategies. Such models are not yet available at Lake Okeechobee but are in high demand since plans for future water management and restoration projects are underway.
Caroline Poli is a Ph.D. candidate in Interdisciplinary Ecology at the University of Florida and is a recipient of the 2019 ForEverglades Fellowship. Her work during this fellowship will quantify the links between hydrology, movement, survival, and fitness in the snail kite, a critically endangered species of raptor and icon of Everglades restoration. Caroline’s research uses modern GPS tracking and hydrological data from multiple sources to interpret declines in survival and recruitment of juvenile birds in the Greater Everglades ecosystem. This information will improve understanding of the impact of water management on the recovery of snail kites, snails, and the wet prairie habitat they inhabit.
Caroline specializes in the study of movement ecology and its application to conservation. In 2015, she earned an MS in Wildlife and Fisheries Biology at Clemson University. Her MS work focused on at-sea movements of masked boobies and brown pelicans. Prior to that, she spent 11 years working as a field ecologist, primarily monitoring and tracking movements of seabirds, marshbirds, songbirds, and raptors.
As a graduate assistant at UF, Caroline works with agencies to understand the impact of wetland management on survival and dispersal of juvenile kites. Since 2017, she has been a service volunteer for the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission and in 2019, she was elected the student representative to the Executive Council of The Waterbird Society.
University of Florida Ph.D. student Satbyeol “Joy” Shin received the 2019 ForEverglades Scholarship to evaluate climate change impact on the hydrodynamics and water quality of Lake Okeechobee using a spatially integrated modeling approach. To deal with current water quality issues of phosphorus enrichment in the lake and projected climate change impacts on the upstream Everglades system, it is essential to understand the unique features and hydrodynamic processes within the lake. Shin is developing a spatially integrated simulation tool that would help formulate water quantity and quality management plans for the upstream Everglades system, including Lake Okeechobee and its drainage areas.
Shin earned both her BA and MA in the Department of Rural Systems Engineering at Seoul National University (SNU). During the master’s program at SNU, she expanded her knowledge and experience of water resource research such as climate change impact assessment, agricultural best management practices, urban green infrastructure, water conservation, and geospatial analysis as well as hydrology and water quality modeling.
Currently, Shin is evaluating climate change impacts on the Western Everglades using the Watershed Assessment Model (WAM). Expanding her master’s thesis, she published a paper for developing an integrated modeling framework for reservoir sedimentation analysis by coupling a watershed loading model (SWAT) to a receiving waterbody model (EFDC). She is pursuing her career goal of becoming a hydrologist and hydrological modeler who can provide valuable insights into water resources and watershed management planning at an international institute or non-governmental organization.
Marisa Takada Martinez is a Ph.D. Student in the Biological Sciences Department at Florida Atlantic University. She received the 2019 ForEverglades Patrick Lee Fellowship for her research project titled Predicting Wading Bird Foraging Habitat and Behavior in Dynamic Intertidal Systems Using a Time-integrated Model of Resource Availability. As water management decisions and restoration projects under the Comprehensive Everglades Restoration Plan influence the conditions of Florida Bay and inevitably the Florida Keys, it is essential that these Southern Coastal Systems are not overlooked when addressing the recovery needs of South Florida’s ecosystems. Marisa’s research directly addresses this need by developing a predictive ecological model for coastal wading bird habitat in Florida Bay and the Florida Keys using spatially-explicit observational data with high resolution environmental parameters. The modeling framework addresses wading bird prey abundance, foraging habitat availability and selection, and foraging behavior in intertidal systems which can serve as a monitoring tool to assess habitat quality and promote the conservation of wading bird populations in the Greater Everglades ecosystem.
Marisa received her dual BS in Animal Science and Natural Resources at Cornell University where she worked at the Cornell Laboratory of Ornithology as an undergraduate research assistant. She received her MS from Texas A&M University’s Wildlife and Fisheries Sciences where she completed her thesis examining post-fledging habitat use patterns of a federally endangered songbird. Her research interests involve the mechanisms by which wildlife populations respond to human-altered environments and how that knowledge can be applied to conservation management efforts for at-risk species and ecosystems.
Marisa enjoys contributing to student services and campus life by being active in various student organizations at FAU. Her elected positions serve as platforms to advocate the needs of peer graduate students and organize professional development events such as an R programming workshop and an annual research retreat for doctoral students. She is also active in The Waterbird Society serving on the student activities committee to foster professional and social engagement among student members.
University of South Florida (USF) Ph.D. student Osama Tarabih received the 2019 ForEverglades Fellowship to optimize Lake Okeechobee’s releases into the Caloosahatchee River, St. Lucie River, and the Everglades to mutually benefit the environment and society. Blue-green harmful algal blooms have been observed in the Lake Okeechobee system due to an excessive quantity of polluted water being released from Lake Okeechobee into the St. Lucie and Caloosahatchee Rivers and have become major environmental concerns in Florida. With the objective of mitigating environmental impacts on the Everglades ecosystem, Osama is optimizing Lake Okeechobee’s outflow regimes to the St. Lucie River, the Caloosahatchee River and the Everglades for the benefit of societal water needs (water supply and flood control) and ecosystem functions.
Osama obtained his master’s degree from Cairo University studying the impacts of upstream dams on the Nile flows and hydropower in Egypt. While pursuing his master’s degree he learned about the environmental impacts of human water development and became increasingly interested in the topic. Since starting his Ph.D. program in the spring of 2018 at USF, Osama has studied water resources sustainability with a focus on learning about the environmental problems facing Lake Okeechobee and the Everglades. Thus, he has chosen South Florida ecosystem restoration as his dissertation topic for the benefit of the South Florida ecosystem and for the experience he would gain working with the complex system of the Everglades. Overall, Osama considers himself to be an eco-hydrologist working on the restoration of impacted ecosystems from a hydrological perspective.
Besides working on applying a Multi-objective Optimization Robust Decision Making (OpenMORDM) framework to design the optimum flow regimes at outflow locations of Lake Okeechobee, Osama is engaged in many environmental engineering student chapter organizations at USF. As the current vice president of the American Water Resources Association and the former vice president and current secretary of the Florida Water Environment Association, Osama teaches both undergraduate and graduate students about the environmental problems that the Everglades ecosystem is facing and ways to help restore that ecosystem.
Florida International University (FIU) Ph.D. student Chloe’ Vorseth received the 2019 ForEverglades Fellowship to pursue greater understanding of the economic value of Lake Okeechobee as a recreational fishery. The health of Lake Okeechobee is vitally important to the Greater Everglades Ecosystem as a whole, impacting water delivery to Everglades National Park and Florida Bay and contributing to algal blooms in the Caloosahatchee and St. Lucie estuaries. Chloe’s research will specifically target both understanding the economic value and impact of Lake Okeechobee, as well as the negative economic impacts of algal blooms in Lake Okeechobee and the northern estuaries.
Chloe’ completed her master’s degree in Environmental Studies at Florida International University in December of 2019. At FIU, her master’s work involved designing and implementing a survey aimed at understanding stakeholder preferences in Everglades restoration. Additionally, she worked with economist Dr. Andrew Stainback at The Everglades Foundation to understand the economic costs of alternative water treatment strategies in South Florida, as well as understanding the economic value of ecosystem services in Everglades National Park. Before graduate school in Miami, Chloe’ completed a bachelor’s degree in Natural Resources and Environmental Science (NRES) with a focus in human dimensions and environmental economics at the University of Kentucky in Lexington, Kentucky. At the University of Kentucky, Chloe’ completed a research project regarding implementing transboundary conservation strategies in national parks in Burundi and Rwanda in western Africa. She also completed a semester abroad in Cape Town, South Africa, where she studied ecotourism, sustainability, and environmental education. She is pursuing a Ph.D. at FIU starting in January of 2020.
Additionally, Chloe’s research interests include environmental economics, environmental policy development, science communication, and human dimensions. She is passionate about the informative power and application of science communication for both policy-making purposes and for the benefit of the general public. She is active in the Florida Coastal Everglades Long-Term Ecological Research (FCE-LTER) Student Group at FIU, and serves as the current vice president. Outside of academic work, she enjoys hiking, reading, cooking, kayaking, and traveling. She especially enjoys traveling to visit her family and friends in her hometown of Louisville, Kentucky.
2019 FIU ForEverglades Scholarship Recipients
Selena Chavez is a recipient of the 2019 FIU ForEverglades Scholarship. She is originally from the Washington D.C. Metropolitan area, where she received her bachelors in Environmental Science and Policy from the University of Maryland (UMD) with a focus in Marine and Coastal Management. While at UMD she interned at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland, where she learned about and applied remote sensing products such as Landsat satellite imagery, radar products, hi-resolution data, and airborne lidar data as well as Geographic Information Systems (GIS) applications in order to create classification maps of mangrove forests on a continental scale over Africa. This internship familiarized her with how important mangrove forests are to local environments and coastal communities and the numerous benefits they provide to both the natural and human environment. Interning at NASA and having hands on experience using remote sensing data inspired her to continue working with mangrove forests and finding ways to improve our understanding of them through the use of remote sensing.
As a current Ph.D. student at Florida International University (FIU) under the advisory of Dr. Shimon Wdowinski, Selena’s research interests focus on understanding the effects major disturbances have on mangrove forests within Everglades Nation Park (ENP). Specifically, her current research project focuses on understanding how mangroves forests were affected after Hurricane Irma made landfall in south Florida by using remote sensing data and observations to modeling course woody debris, standing dead biomass, and recovery of mangrove forests in the Everglades region. This project will help advance knowledge on how hurricanes affect mangroves by assessing Hurricane Irma’s impact on mangrove forest structure within ENP and also monitor mangrove forest recovery in order to understand how they respond to large disturbances overtime.
In her free time, Selena enjoys kayaking and paddle boarding to explore and get to know Miami. She is currently on the executive board of FIU’s Florida Coastal Everglades student group in order to help and support student research and collaboration within the Everglades and is a member of FIU G.L.A.D.E.S club which helps provide network and volunteer opportunities pertaining to ecology and sustainability.
Peter Flood is a third year Ph.D. student at Florida International University (FIU). He was awarded the 2019 FIU ForEverglades Scholarship to evaluate the impacts of a non-native fish, the African Jewelfish (Hemicrhomis letourneuxi), on the aquatic food web. At the onset of Everglades restoration, the potential effects of non-native species on the ecosystem were largely over-looked. Understanding how the 17 species of non-native fishes currently inhabiting Everglades National Park are influencing the Everglades is an emerging topic as restoration continues. By training, he is a community ecologist and invasion biologist with an emphasis on quantitative ecology. Flood received a BS from the University of Tampa in 2015 where he first worked with African Jewelfish. Afterwards, he attended a year of graduate school at the University of Southern Mississippi before returning to South Florida to work with non-native species once again. Flood’s research focuses on how non-native fish are altering the food web and therein ecosystem function in the form of energy flow and secondary production. Outside of science, he is an avid reader, runner, and enjoys playing a variety of sports.
Lukas Lamb-Wotton (Luke Lamb) is a Ph.D. student at Florida International University (FIU) and a recipient of the 2019 FIU ForEverglades Scholarship to support his work investigating peat collapse in Florida Coastal Everglades (FCE) sawgrass marshes. Sawgrass is the most dominant marsh plant in the Everglades but declines in coastal habitats due to sea-level rise and associated saltwater intrusion, ultimately leading to losses in marsh elevation, organic-rich peat soils, and a conversion of vegetated marsh to open-water. In order to support coastal restoration targets, Luke employs a diverse set of scientific methods to detect peat collapse in the field and then uses these results to identify areas vulnerable to collapse across the Everglades coastline.
Born in Florida and raised in Maine, Luke obtained his BS in Biology from the University of Maine (Umaine) with a concentration in ecology and minors in chemistry and anthropology. While at Umaine, he obtained a wide range of research experiences but took a particular interest in wetland ecology. This ultimately led him back to Florida to continue his training as a wetland ecologist specializing in ecosystem dynamics of coastal wetlands, carbon cycling, and spatial analysis using geographic information systems and remote sensing. Luke aims to use his interdisciplinary background to increase our understanding of peat collapse in coastal marshes at the landscape scale to support Everglades restoration efforts that seek to protect coastal wetlands and the ecosystems services they provide.
While Luke’s research is top priority, in his two years at FIU he has been an avid science communicator and graduate student leader, having organized numerous events both for the public and his fellow graduate students. Luke also manages multiple blogging platforms, including Rapid Ecology, an ecological community blogging site whose goal is to be a megaphone for ecologists that want to amplify their voice to a broad audience.
2019 ForEverglades Impact Report
Click below to…