UH Hilo student earns prestigious national scholarship

University of Hawaiʻi at Hilo
Posted: Apr 23, 2008

Brian Yannutz, a sophomore majoring in marine science at the University of Hawaii at Hilo, has been awarded a National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Hollings Scholarship.

Each year, approximately 100 two-year scholarships are awarded to eligible college sophomores, depending on final funding appropriations. As an award recipient, Yannutz will receive two years of academic assistance up to $8,000 for full-time study during the nine-month academic year, and a 10- week, full-time summer stipend-supported internship ($650/week) at a NOAA facility.

"I hope to use this award as a stepping stone for other opportunities with NOAA and to pursue a doctorate degree in marine biology," Yannutz said. "Eventually, I‘d like to conduct research on the Great Barrier Reef and help stop the exploitation of the world‘s oceans through international collaboration."

The internship takes place between the first and second years of the award and provides a "hands-on" multi-disciplinary educational training experience involving scholars in NOAA-related scientific, research, technological, policy, management, and education activities. Yannutz hopes to become involved in a scientific diving project in the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands or study shark behaviors on the Pacific Coast.

Yannutz has been active in numerous Marine Science Department activities. He has participated in various marine oriented events and activities sponsored by the Marine Option Program (MOP), the Hawaiʻi Marine Mammal Response Network, is a tutor for Marine Biology classes and has worked for various professors on their research projects. Among those recommending him for the award was Lisa Parr, instructor of marine science, who described Yannutz as a very sharp, tenacious and committed student.

"Brian‘s work ethic, academic ability and drive are well known within the department," Parr wrote. "He has a stated goal of attending the Scripps Institute for graduate school and is focused on making that goal a reality."

The program, named after retired South Carolina Senator Ernest F. Hollings, was established to increase undergraduate training in oceanic and atmospheric science, research, technology and education, foster multi-disciplinary training opportunities, prepare students for public service careers with NOAA and other natural resource and science agencies at the federal, state and local levels of government, prepare students for careers as teachers and educators, and improve environmental literacy.