AWRA Water Blog

AWRA Awards More Than $7,000 in Scholarships

2015-16 Scholarship Winners (l to r): Alice Alonso, Jacqueline Gerson and Anna Radke.

2015-16 Scholarship Winners (l to r): Alice Alonso, Jacqueline Gerson and Anna Radke.

AWRA is pleased to announce the recipients of our 2015-16 Richard A. Herbert Memorial Scholarship Fund awards. Considered by AWRA and our members to be one of the organization’s greatest accomplishments, the scholarship fund, established in 1980, has helped 47 students continue with their studies in water resources management.

Application packets for 2016-2017 may be submitted starting in January 2016. For more information on our scholarship program email

The 2015-16 AWRA Richard A. Herbert Memorial Scholarship Fund winners are:

Alice Alonso, 2015-2016 recipient of the Graduate (Ph.D.) Student Award ($2,000)
Alice is a Ph.D. student in the Agricultural and Biological Engineering Department at the University of Florida (UF).  Her research project focuses on the Tempisque watershed in Costa Rica. The watershed is facing water management issues due to implementation of a large scale hydropower-irrigation project.  The Palo Verde National Park and its wetlands, situated downstream, are showing severe ecological degradation.  Alice’s hypothesis is that those changes are a direct consequence of the human transformations in the upper part of the basin. To test this, with the support of the Organization of Tropical Studies (OTS) she has built an instrumentation network to analyze a large and diverse data set. At the end of her project, the collected database will be publically released, and the instrumentation network will remain in place, with OTS encouraged to continue the monitoring process.

In her own words, “I believe we can provide water security for all while managing and using natural resources in a sustainable fashion, but there is still a pressing need to further understand and develop tools that encompass the complexity of those systems. This is for me one of the biggest challenges of our century, and I am willing to participate in meeting it.”

Jacqueline Gerson, 2015-2016 recipient of the Graduate (M.S.) Student Award ($2,000)
Jacqueline is currently studying environmental engineering science as a master’s candidate at the College of Civil and Environmental Engineering at Syracuse University. Her research focus is examining the implications of increased productivity in Adirondack lakes, with the prediction that altered nutrient limitation patterns associated with decreased acid deposition could change trophic structure within these lakes. In addition to her research pursuits, her academic coursework is focused on the interdisciplinary field of aquatic biogeochemistry, including chemistry, hydrology, ecology, statistics, and STEM communication.

In her own words, “Science has always been the outlet for my interminable curiosity and my source of explanation for environmental phenomena. I strive to share this passion and knowledge with others so they, too, can engage in scientific exploration.”

Anna Radke, 2015-2016 recipient of the Undergraduate Student Award ($2,000)
Anna is currently majoring in hydrology at the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point (UWSP). She is most interested in water chemistry, specifically the interactions of water and soil with agricultural fertilizers and pesticides. To that end, she has added minors in chemistry and soil science.  She has worked on several undergraduate research projects relating to nutrient flux in wetland and upland soils, and an environmental chemistry project related to poly-aromatic hydrocarbons in wood smoke.

In her own words, “I am currently exploring my options for graduate school in water or environmental chemistry, and also looking at possibilities for employment with both government agencies and private environmental monitoring groups. I’d especially like to pursue research relating the groundwater hydrology of watersheds to their dominant species of nutrient pollution. We humans need to learn to live with the planet, not just on it.”

In addition, due to the overwhelming generosity of AWRA members, the Board of Directors and Scholarship Committee are pleased to announce three ancillary scholarships. Recipients are:

  • Molly Welsh, SUNY-ESF – Ph.D. Student
  • Christopher Groff, University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee – M.S. Student
  • JD Coffee, Abilene Christian University – Undergraduate Student

If you would like to show your support for our next generation of water resources managers, please consider making a donation to our scholarship program. You do not need to be a member of AWRA to donate.

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