• A total of 74 scholarships have been awarded since 1995.
• While the average scholarship value has been $2000, the Foundation has made progress in its efforts to raise additional funds to permit an increase in the average value of scholarships awarded in recent years.
• The William G.Huppert Award, presented to the highest rated applicant, was valued at $5,000 when granted in June, 2011.
Tracy Dirks M.S. Marine Biology, Nova Southeastern University B.S. Biology, Salisbury University B.S. Marine & Environmental Science, University of Maryland Eastern Shore
I received my first scholarship from the Maryland Saltwater Sportfishing Association (MSSA) in 2004 towards studying a Dual Degree Program at Salisbury University in Biology/Marine & Environmental Science. The MSSA continued to support my academic endeavors throughout college, where I was able to gain research and field experience through internships with the Department of Natural Resources Fisheries Service in Stevensville, MD, the Ocean Mammal Institute in Maui, HI, and completed an international study on coral reefs in Roatan, Honduras. I decided to continue my education to complete a Master’s program in Marine Biology at Nova Southeastern University in Fort Lauderdale, FL, focusing on the effects that estrogens and other endocrine disruptors have on fish populations.
A native of the Chesapeake Bay area, I was innately drawn to the beauty and wealth of activities and resources the Bay had to offer. I grew up fishing, boating, sailing, crabbing, exploring, and truly appreciating everything related to the Bay. It wasn’t until high school that I realized some of the serious issues the Bay was facing, such as nutrient and sediment pollution, natural resource mismanagement, and an incredible boom in development. It was disconcerting to think that the tremendous memories I had associated with the Bay as a child were being put in jeopardy for future generations.
After completing my Master’s in December 2010, I returned to the Annapolis area to seek employment and was hired as a Seasonal Environmental Educator with the Chesapeake Bay Foundation’s Island Residential Program. The support from MSSA not only allowed me to focus my energy on my studies rather than finances, but also gave me motivation to give back to the community that supported and believed in my efforts to eventually have a positive impact on the Bay.
My story is just the beginning of a long journey to bring the Bay and all of its resources back to healthy levels. It is going to take a network of committed and passionate scientists, policy makers, and ultimately, informed and educated citizens, to make any progress towards these common goals. Support of the MSSA Scholarship Program will ensure that students who are passionate about studying marine biology, fisheries science, environmental science, environmental policy, and many other programs, are able to reach their full potential and use what they learn to have positive impacts on the Bay.
SCHOLARSHIPS AWARDED IN JUNE, 2014-2015
High School Graduates:
• Lauren Green, Saint Mary’s College of Maryland
• Julia Gurdak, Vanderbilt University
• Isobel Hawes, Johns Hopkins University
• Ashleigh Kirker, College of Charleston
• Victoria Kushner, University of Vermont
• Valerie Petsche, University of South Carolina
• Rowan Reddish, University of North Carolina-Wilmington
• Jamie Clark, University of South Carolina
• Hannah Clipp, West Virginia University
• Elizabeth DeRycke, McDaniel College
• Lindsey Dimick, Old Dominion University
• Nathan Hirtle, Frostburg State University
• Samantha Moxey, Towson University
• Kourtney Rutkowski, University of Maryland Baltimore County