Celebrating Student Scholarships

Three of the numerous scholarship recipients to be honored at this year's Celebration of Scholarships event on April 17th

Image Credit: Edwin Remsberg

April 14, 2015 Rachael Keeney

The College of Agriculture and Natural Resources (AGNR) is happy to give credit where credit is due, offering standout students financial assistance from one of the largest scholarship programs at the University of Maryland. Every year, standout students are recognized at the university’s Celebration of Scholarships event held at the College Park Marriott. The following AGNR students are among the many recognized this April 17th:

Sophomore Animal Science major Ellen Baumler wrote an essay about horse slaughter when she applied for the James R. Ferguson Memorial Scholarship, a topic that hits close to home. Baumler rescued her own horse, and since then has been working as an intern at the Maryland Therapeutic Riding center located in Crownsville, MD, which strives to help individuals with mental and/or physical disabilities ride, and eventually independently control their horse. With an obvious love for helping others, Baulmer is considering studying human medicine as well, which she will gain experience with during her study abroad trip to San Jose, Costa Rica with the Foundation for International Medical Relief of Children this June. Though still deciding her exact profession, “whatever dream I decide to chase, I know that it won't be possible unless I receive an education,” Baumler said.

The Winslow Scholarship has helped senior Mighty Sound of Maryland trumpet player and Environmental Science and Technology and Ecology and Evolutionary Sciences dual degree student Kevin Wilson worry less about financial obligations and focus more on obtaining internships in his field of study. Last summer, Wilson was selected to participate in the Research Experience for Undergraduates at the National Science Foundation at Samford University in Birmingham, Alabama. There, Wilson studied the effects of environmental stress on longleaf pine trees for nine weeks; trees which used to dominate the South but now cover less than 3 percent of the space they used to occupy. “Having internships has been a large part of my college education and will be important additions to my resume for applying to grad schools,” Wilson said. After completing a graduate degree, Wilson hopes to work restoring ecosystems that have been negatively affected by human presence.

“Climate change is the greatest environmental and global security issue that my generation will face,” sophomore Environmental Science and Policy major, Annie Rice, said. Due to this concern, Rice aspires to become either an environmental lawyer, a non-profit lobbyist or a government official after attending law school, but in the meantime, she has already started to gain leadership and policy experience in her Director of City Affairs position in the Student Government Association. This James and Sarah Goddard Memorial Scholarship recipient has met with College park councilmembers, attended meetings for the College Park Committee for a Better Environment, and sat in on a Sustainable Maryland Certified Green Team meeting, all in an effort to increase community gardens in the area. Rice has also consulted with UMD Resident Life to coordinate a composting pilot program in two residence halls next fall, and is currently interning with the Wilderness Society in the District of Columbia, furthering her interests of yoga, running, hiking, and camping.

With the help of the James R. Ferguson Memorial Fund, junior Environmental Science and Policy major Julia Geschke was able to save up money for a study abroad trip to Tanzania. There, Geschke was able to learn and experience more than any textbook could offer; camping in the Serengeti, meeting with locals, learning Swahili, observing exotic animals in their natural habitat and listening to lectures on conservation, management, socio-economic issues, tourism and plant and bird identification.  At UMD, Geschke stays just as active as she was in Tanzania, serving as a dedicated member of The Wildlife Society at UMD (the student chapter of the Wildlife Society, a national organization for wildlife professionals) as well as a research assistant to Shannon Pederson’s bat research project. “This ties in with what I might be doing as a field biologist,” Geschke explained. “Bats are a very hot topic right now because of White Nose Syndrome, a fungal disease that is decimating their populations across the country, so studying them is extremely important.”

Two-year PhD student in the Department of Animal and Avian Sciences, Ian Chambers, loves “the thrill of learning, giving back, and a challenging career where you must continue to learn long after you have graduated.”  That’s why he hopes to become the Principal Investigator of his own research lab one day, all the while doing his part to teach others what he has learned.  Currently, Chambers is studying molecular neuroendocrinology in zebrafish in an effort to understand membrane progesterone receptors, while also serving as a teaching assistant for ANSC214 (Comparative Animal Physiology) and ANSC499 (Recombinant DNA).  The H. Palmer Hopkins Scholarship for Excellence in Teaching helped ensure that Chambers could afford to live in D.C. without having to take on a part-time job, allotting more time and dedication to his research. After graduation, when he’s not enjoying water sports like fishing, sailing, and scuba diving, Chambers hopes to join a successful postdoctoral program and then apply for faculty positions.