Graduate Education & Awards

2015 Fellowships and Awards Luncheon

ST. PETERSBURG, FL - The 2015 University of South Florida College of Marine Science Graduate Student Fellowship Award Luncheon took place on October 9, 2015 at the Staybridge Suites in St. Petersburg, Fl.  The college celebrated the excellence of their graduate students through the award of their endowed fellowships.  These endowed fellowships are a point of pride for the college and reflect years of successful engagement with the community.


View Album on Facbook -


Last modified on Tuesday, 13 October 2015 16:55

2015 Outstanding Thesis and Dissertation Award

ST. PETERSBURG, FL - Robert Hardy, a USF College of Marine Science student who graduated in December 2014 with a Master’s Degree, was selected as one of four recipients of the 2015 USF Outstanding Thesis and Dissertation Award. This is the highest award given to students by the Office of Graduate Studies of USF.

This is in recognition of his thesis entitled “Assessments of surface pelagic drift communities and behavior of early juvenile sea turtles in the northern Gulf of Mexico.” The award letter stated “your work stood out among the best, and the committee was very impressed with not only the theme of your research, but also the extent of your professional development to date.” 

The College of Marine Science is very proud of Robert’s achievements, as his research is a reflection of the University of South Florida’s academic excellence.

Last modified on Thursday, 24 September 2015 14:13

2018 Florida Sea Grant Newell Scholarship

ST. PETERSBURG, FL - Alexander Ilich has been selected to receive one of the inaugural 2018 Florida Sea Grant Newell Scholarships. This scholarship provides $1,000 in support of travel to a scientific conference so that Alexander can present his research results and network with colleagues.

View Florida Sea Grant Newell Scholarships

Abdiel Laureano-Rosario selected for NASA NESSF fellowship

ST. PETERSBURG, FL - Congratulations to to USFCMS student Abdiel Laureano-Rosario.  He been selected as one of the 64 recipients (out of 391 applicants) of this year's prestigious NASA Earth and Space Science Fellowship (NESSF).

Last modified on Monday, 08 June 2015 17:34

AGU Ocean Sciences Section Newsletter: August 2014

WASHINGTON, D.C. - Below is a list of new AGU Fellows, including Lee Kump who is a USF Marine Science graduate. Please follow this link to see the full version online: Read the full version here.

Last modified on Tuesday, 05 August 2014 16:59

Christian Haller receives Jones O’Neill award

ST. PETERSBURG - Congratulations to Christian Haller receiving the Jones O’Neill award. The goal of his dissertation is to improve understanding of the geologic record of Dauphin Island (Alabama, Northern Gulf of Mexico), the long term trajectory and morphological evolution which is shaped by hurricanes. In cooperation with the USGS St. Petersburg Coastal and Marine Science Center, Christian seeks to reconstruct Holocene sea level rise, andpaleo-storm induced erosional and depositional events. Christian Haller specializes in applying benthic foraminifera, unicellular microfossils, which are able to record facies- and salinity changes in their assemblages. He also received funding awards this spring from three different geologic and paleontologic societies to date Dauphin Island marsh cores.

Below are some helpful resources on the Jones O'Neill Award.


NAMS O’Neill Award 2014

AAPG David W. Worthington Named Grant 2014

GSA Graduate Student Research Grant 2014

Last modified on Tuesday, 27 May 2014 16:31

CMS Student Featured in Oceanography Student Newsletter

ST. PETERSBURG, FL - Master's student, Kate Dubickas, was featured in the latest student newsletter from The Oceanography Society. Each month, a student member of The Oceanography Society is selected to share a short "spotlight" piece related to their experiences as a graduate student. Ms. Dubickas's piece was poignant and resonated with many graduate students who have had similar learning experiences along their graduate school journeys.

View full article

Last modified on Friday, 16 March 2018 20:34

CMS Students Publish Advocacy Piece in Oceanography Magazine

ST. PETERSBURG, FL - Master's students, Kate Dubickas and Alexander Ilich, wrote a piece titled, "Becoming an Ocean Advocate through Experiential Learning", published in Oceanography Volume 30 Issue 04. The short expose focuses on their time and experiences during Dr. Frank Muller-Karger and Dr. Mark Luther's Ocean Policy class in the Spring of 2016. Examples range from implementing change locally, such as was done after meeting with Mayor Kriseman, and nationally by elected officials on Capitol Hill. This is a huge interdisciplinary accomplishment from some of CMS's very own budding ocean scientists. 

View the full article

Last modified on Friday, 16 March 2018 20:27

Congratulations graduating graduate students

ST. PETERSBURG, FL - Congratulations to Dr. Steve Murawski's first graduating graduate students.  During the December 2014 Graduate Commencement, USF President Judy Genshaft highlighted the accomplishments of Susan Snyder's work on the Deep Horizon Gulf Oil Spill.


Where are they going from here? 

From left to right:

Elizabeth Herdter: (Continuing as a doctoral student): "Growth Rates in Gulf of Mexico Red Snapper, Lutjanus campechanus, Before and After the Deepwater Horizon Blowout"

Sarah Grasty: "Use of a Towed Camera System for Estimating Reef Fish Populations Densities on the West Florida Shelf"

Susan Snyder: (Continuing as a doctoral student): "Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbon Metabolites as a Biomarker of Exposure to Oil in Demersal Fishes Following the Deepwater Horizon Blowout

Kristina Deak: (Continuing as a doctoral student): "Cloning and Characterization of IL-1b, IL-8, IL-10, and TNFa from Golden Tilefish (Lopholatilus chamaeleonticeps) and Red Snapper (Lutjanus campechanus)"

Congratulations to Elizabeth Brown and Kara Vadman

ST. PETERSBURG, FL - The Cushman Foundation for Foraminiferal Research has announced the Graduate Student Awards for 2016 and once again two of our CMS students are among the international list of awardees.

2016 Johanna M. Resig Foraminiferal Research Fellowship

Elizabeth Brown, “Morphological variability in the Globigerinoides ruber-elongatus plexus and its implications.” University of South Florida, USA.

2016 Loeblich and Tappan Student Research Award

Kara Vadman, "Mg/Ca-temperature calibration and reconstruction of bottom water paleotemperatures on the Sabrina Coast, East Antarctica using benthic foraminifer Trifarina angulosa." University of South Florida, USA.

You can send your wish to them by logging into hotmail or gmail account

Last modified on Saturday, 02 July 2016 22:08

Cristina Subt will receive a 2014 GSA Graduate Student Research Grant

ST. PETERSBURG - Cristina Subt, a student of Dr. Brad Rosenheim, will receive a 2014 GSA Graduate Student Research Grant.

Her research project, "Chronology of Antarctic sediments during the last glaciation using ramped pyrolysis radiocarbon analyses," involves the investigation of the ramped pyrolysis (RP) dating method on a regional scale relative to available dating methods for Antarctic sediments. She will apply radiocarbon analysis using ramped pyrolysis, bulk AIO, as well as carbonates to Antarctic sediment samples from equal depths.

The purpose of this project is to understand the differences and relationships between the three dating methods and determine if the RP 14C dates are consistently closer to the carbonate ages, which could affect how dates are constrained for Antarctic sediments, where carbonates are usually quite rare. Improved timing constraints will be useful in constructing more accurate models of ice sheet advance and retreat during the LGM.

Last modified on Friday, 25 April 2014 11:56

Devon Firesinger Awarded NOSAMS Internship

ST. PETERSBURG, FL - Devon Firesinger was awarded a NOSAMS (National Ocean Sciences Accelerator Mass Spectrometer, WHOI) research internship.  He submitted a proposal titled, "Utilization of continuous flow accelerator mass spectrometry and Bayesian accumulation modeling to produce a real time radiocarbon age model of a sediment core' and it was recommended for funding.  The opportunity involves research funds and travel allowance, and he will conduct research at WHOI likely in the spring.

Read more about Devin Firesinger

Last modified on Wednesday, 05 August 2015 17:18

Elizabeth Brown earns OCG Fellowship

ST. PETERSBURG, FL - The Oceanography Camp for Girls Fellowship provides support for full-time and part-time female graduate students in the College of Marine Science who participate as educators (science mentors) in the Oceanography Camp for Girls. Recipients of this fellowship will participate in Pre-program, during program and Post-program activities. 

Erin Symonds Receives Fulbright Award

ST. PETERSBURG - Ms. Erin Symonds of the University of South Florida has been awarded a Fulbright Research Grant to Costa Rica to continue her doctoral research at the MarViva Foundation, where she will provide complementary, enhanced measurements and source identification of pollution from biological sources in order to improve watershed management practices.  This research will support MarViva's Greater Tempisque River Watershed (GTRW) management project and will help to improve MarViva's understanding of fecal pollution in the GTRW and promote further water management actions.

As a PhD candidate, Erin represents the USF College of Marine Sciences, where her academic achievements have been noted inside and outside the classroom. Her doctoral studies are supported by the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) STAR (Science to Achieve Results) Fellowship (2011-2013). In 2013, Erin was a member of a team awarded a USF Interdisciplinary Challenge Grant to execute a rapid assessment of microbial risk from consuming lettuce in the Cochabamba Valley of Bolivia. She is currently the student representative for the USF College of Marine Science Curriculum Committee. Erin has presented her research at National and International scientific conferences and has published in peer-reviewed scientific journals. Additionally, she developed and instructs a course on water sciences intended for motivated high school students through Duke University's Talent Identification Program. As an active member in the community, Erin frequently promotes science education through involvement in the St. Petersburg Science Festival and as a guest speaker at local schools and organizations.

Upon completion of the Fulbright research grant, Erin will defend her dissertation graduate with her doctorate in Marine Science. As a PhD holding scientist, she intends to continue to dedicate herself to the protection of human and environmental health, formally and informally through education, research and capacity building as a post-doctoral researcher and later as a university professor and researcher. Erin received her bachelor's degree in Environmental Science and Biology from the University of Virginia and her master's degree from USF in Marine Science. Erin returned to USF for her doctorate after serving as a Peace Corps volunteer in Guatemala, where she helped establish a water quality laboratory and monitoring program.

Dr. Linda Lucas, Director of the Office of National Scholarships said of Erin's award, "We are very proud of Erin's many significant accomplishments. She will be a wonderful ambassador from the US during her Fulbright experience." The Office of National Scholarships identifies, recruits and mentors high achieving students to apply for national merit scholarships across all disciplines. The scholarships and fellowships are for creative, motivated and academically strong students who are leaders in and out of the classroom.

The Fulbright Program is the flagship international educational exchange program sponsored by the U.S. government and is designed to increase mutual understanding between the people of the United States and the people of other countries. The primary source of funding for the Fulbright Program is an annual appropriation made by the U.S. Congress to the U.S. Department of State, Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs. Participating governments and host institutions, corporations and foundations in foreign countries and in the United States also provide direct and indirect support. Recipients of Fulbright grants are selected on the basis of academic or professional achievement, as well as demonstrated leadership potential in their fields. The Program operates in over 155 countries worldwide. The Fulbright U.S. Student Program is administered by the Institute of International Education.


Last modified on Friday, 02 May 2014 15:29

Erin Symonds wins ASM Raymond W. Sarber Award

ST. PETERSBURG, FL - Erin Symonds, a PhD student studying microbial water quality in Dr. Mya Breitbart's laboratory at the USF College of Marine Science has been selected as the 2016 recipient of the Raymond W. Sarber Award from the American Society of Microbiology. Erin will be presented with this prestigious award for microbiology research excellence and potential at an awards ceremony at the ASM Microbe 2016 meeting in Boston, MA in June. 

Last modified on Friday, 20 May 2016 13:54

Get to know PhD student Imogen Browne

RED SEA, ANTARCTICA - PhD student Imogen Browne is currently aboard the JOIDES Resolution (JR) with the International Ocean Discovery Program (IODP) Expedition 374. in Antarctica. Imogen Browne is a Fulbright student from New Zealand doing her Ph.D. in Marine Science at the University of South Florida. Get an up-close look at this fascinating two-month expedition to research 20 million years of ice sheet history.

View video on YouTube

Last modified on Tuesday, 23 January 2018 14:27

Ileana Freytes Ortiz selected for USGS NWCSC MOSS Fellowship in Science Communication

ST. PETERSBURG, FL - Ileana Freytes Ortiz, a PhD candidate, was selected as one of two recipients of the USGS NWCSC MOSS Fellowship in Science Communication (United States Geological Survey, Northwest Climate Science Center, McCall Outdoor Science School) . This one-year immersive program in climate-related science communication will involve a guided study and mentored practice. The program is focused on experiential and placed-based learning at the McCall Outdoor Science School through the University of Idaho.  It will include targeted graduate coursework in science communication, place-based education, leadership, and ecology.  She will be mentoring MS-level graduate student teachers and K-12 students as a field instructor and guest scientist.   She will also assist in the planning and implementation of the 2017 USGS Climate Science Boot Camp for early career professionals and graduate students from the University of Idaho, University of Washington, and Oregon State University, federal  and state agencies, northwest region Native American tribes, and non-profit organizations.  Ileana is obtaining an interdisciplinary degree involving Marine Science with Educational Outreach under the guidance of Dr. Chris Stallings. 

Last modified on Monday, 25 April 2016 16:27

Katie S. Davis receives the Fish Florida Scholarship

ST. PETERSBURG, FL - Katie S. Davis has received the Fish Florida Scholarship, awarded to students working toward improved public understanding of the marine environment.  Katie is a master's student in the College of Marine Science's Population Dynamics and Marine Ecosystem Analysis Lab, and her research is focused on the assessment of benthic communities along the West Florida Shelf using a Camera-Based Assessment Survey System (C-BASS).  The habitats of the West Florida Shelf support many economically-important reef fish communities and are composed of various algal, coral, and sponge species.  Using video from C-BASS, and in coordination with other researchers within the College, Katie is analyzing the presence of and associations between these organisms.
Katie is also an employee of NOAA Fisheries.  One of her goals is to communicate research so that the fisheries can better understand, support, and comply with regulations, and to find ways to enable the public to become more engaged in regulation-making processes.  "I believe that the more people know about the marine environment, the more they will appreciate and want to protect it," she says.  
"USF is fortunate to have [Katie's] talent, enthusiasm, and work ethic," says Lara Kramer, Director of the Fish Florida scholarship program, "It is Fish Florida's mission to promote public awareness of and encourage the protection of marine fisheries and coastal habitats.  Supporting future fisheries research and managers with scholarship funds is just one way of doing that."
A scholarship check of $2500 was sent to the University to be applied toward Katie's tuition for the Fall 2014 semester.
About Fish Florida:
About C-BASS:

Last modified on Thursday, 19 June 2014 14:28

Makenna Martin receives Joseph A. Cushman Student Research Award

ST. PETERSBURG, FL - The Board of Directors of the Cushman Foundation for Foraminiferal Research has selected Makenna Martin's thesis project on Investigating the Microbial Associations of Symbiont-Bearing Foraminifera on Florida’s Reefs for a fully funded 2017 Joseph A. Cushman Award.   Congratulations to Makenna!

Marine Science Defense Announcement: Dawn Goldsmith


The public is invited to attend the following College of Marine Science Defense:

Marine Viral Diversity and Spatiotemporal Variability

Presented by:
Dawn Goldsmith

For the Ph.D. Degree in Marine Science
Thursday, May 1, 2014, 11:00 am

MSL Conference Room

Last modified on Thursday, 24 April 2014 13:47

Meet our 2015 Guy Harvey Scholar

ST. PETERSBURG, FL - The scholarship, established in 2010 through a partnership between Florida Sea Grant and the Guy Harvey Ocean Foundation, recognizes students at Florida universities whose research focuses on the biology, ecology, habitat or management of fish in Florida’s marine environment. Since the award was established, $124,000 in scholarships has now been given to 27 students at nine different Florida universities.

Marcy Cockrell, a Ph.D. student studying marine science at USF, is investigating how three marine protected areas in the Gulf of Mexico might benefit both fisheries yields and spawning populations.

Last modified on Tuesday, 04 August 2015 15:02