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SNRE graduate student launches mentoring program

Adam Searles, an incoming Interdisciplinary Ecology Ph.D. student, is launching a mentoring program at UF for the Hollings Scholarship. The program is operated by the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). It provides undergraduates with academic assistance for two years of full-time study. It also includes a ten-week, full-time paid internship at a NOAA facility during the summer.

NOAA logoSearles was a Hollings Scholar during his undergrad at the University of Central Florida.

“It was the most informative and transformative professional experience I’ve ever had,” he said. “I was able to meet and network with scientists my age from across the country and conduct research in places I never thought I could.”

Searles has a goal of mentoring as many undergraduate researchers as he can, so they can be successful in their future career. He believes his success at UCF was due, in part, to the research he did there. The scientific training Hollings Scholars receive often leads them to future grants, fellowships, and scholarships. But Searles thinks UF is missing out.

“Since I’ve begun watching the lists of recipients and did some digging into past cohorts, UF has produced only a few Hollings Scholars,” he said. “I’d like to change this by getting more students accepted into the program.”

Mentoring Plan

Searles plans to serve as a mentor for a large group of students as they apply to the program this coming fall semester. As a past recipient, Searles understands the criteria for the application, the inner workings of NOAA, and what it takes to produce a successful application.

“Ideally, I will hold regular Zoom meetings with these undergraduate scientists. We’ll discuss what it means to be a Hollings Scholar and work on application materials such as resumes and essays,” Searles explained. “I’d create a timeline of when they’d need to complete different materials. I’m also willing to work one-on-one with students to make sure they have the strongest possible application.”

Information sessions on the NOAA Hollings Scholarship program will be Wednesday, Sept. 23, at 4:00 p.m. and Thursday, Sept. 24, at 5:30 p.m.

Students who are interested should fill out this Qualtrics survey (https://ufl.qualtrics.com/jfe/form/SV_bKMvfoISmvNzLYp) or contact him via email: AdamRossS@ufl.edu