Student Forum

IMET's Maurer takes marine skills to Disney's Epcot

Leah Maurer She gets to interact with these two dolphins on a daily basis.

Leah Maurer, who studied under Dr. Sook Chung at the Institute of Marine and Environmental Science, recently started working as a research associate at The Seas in Walt Disney World's Epcot.

"I work with many animals, including marine fish, dolphins, sharks, and rays," she said. "One exciting project I assist on is the dolphin project, which studies the cognition and vision of dolphins (among other things). Guests can even see some research sessions in progress at The Seas."

"The research that I'm involved in focuses on improving the welfare of animals in the aquarium and applying that knowledge to other facilities and to the populations in the wild," she continued. "Because I work in Epcot, I am given a lot of opportunities to educate the public about marine life and the importance of conservation."

At IMET, Maurer studied the early development of the blue crab, specifically trying to understand the dietary conditions that influence how crustaceans grow. She successfully defended her master's thesis in July 2017.

Apply now for Maryland Sea Grant 2019 Knauss Marine Policy Fellowship

Maryland Sea Grant is officially announcing the 2019 Knauss Marine Policy Fellowships. This is an opportunity for graduate students who have an interest in ocean and coastal resources and in the national policy decisions affecting those resources to work in executive or legislative branches of government. This is a one year, non-renewable appointment in Washington D.C. The National Sea Grant College Program awarded 57 Fellowships to highly qualified graduate students in 2018.

Any student, regardless of citizenship, who, in February 2018, is enrolled towards a degree in a graduate or professional program that has an interest in ocean, coastal and Great Lakes resources and in the national policy decisions affecting those resources is eligible to apply. The graduate degree needs to be awarded through a United States accredited institution of higher education in the United States or U.S. Territories (District of Columbia residents apply through Delaware Sea Grant and must first contact

Applications are due Feb. 28, 2018.

Please note: Sea Grant will be requiring a draft application and an interview before the February 23 deadline to submit the complete application. This is to help both students and our program to better manage the Knauss Fellowship applications. If interested in applying, you are highly encouraged to contact Maryland Sea Grant at


3 questions for... EMily Russ

Horn Point Laboratory graduate student Emily Russ examines where sediment comes from and where it goes. Listen as she explains the problems some sediment bring to the Bay and how she grew to love this work.
Horn Point graduate student Emily Russ is working to understand sediment's role, for better and worse, in Chesapeake Bay
What are you researching? I research where sediment comes from (source) and where it goes (sink). Specifically, my research has focused on how much sediment comes from the Susquehanna River or from shoreline erosion, and where it gets deposited in the Chesapeake Bay.

Why the University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science? I came to UMCES in August 2014. I had been emailing different professors I wanted to work with on a Ph.D. After talking with Cindy Palinkas, I was fascinated by her work and really interested in coming to a place that was very interdisciplinary. I felt like UMCES would be the best fit for me, and I feel like I made the right decision.

What are your future plans? At this point I am very open to any job opportunities; however, I am applying for the Knauss Marine Policy Fellowship from Maryland Sea Grant, which is a one-year fellowship that helps recent graduates or advanced graduate students obtain policy experience.

Read Emily's full Q&A and find more interviews on our Student Stories page. 

Graduate Student Council Representatives

Appalachian Laboratory

Chesapeake Biological Laboratory

Horn Point Laboratory

Institute of Marine and Environmental Technology

Where are they now?

Astronaut Ricky Arnold, Biotech start-up founder Ryan Powell, and Secretary of Inter-American Convention for the Protection and Conservation of Sea Turtles Verónica Cáceres Chamorro are each leaving their mark on this world, but despite their different careers, they were all once graduate students at the University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science. Visit the Alumni Profiles page to learn more about these and other UMCES graduates.


2018 Ocean Sciences Meeting

Co-sponsored by the American Geophysical Union (AGU), the Association for the Sciences of Limnology and Oceanography (ASLO), and The Oceanography Society (TOS), the conference will be held 11–16 February, in Portland, Oregon. The OSM is an important venue for scientific exchange across broad marine science disciplines. Sessions will include all aspects of oceanography, especially multidisciplinary topics, as well as presentations that reflect new and emerging research on the global ocean and society, including science education, outreach, and public policy.

2018 American Fisheries Society 148th Annual Meeting
Theme: "Communicating the Science of Fisheries to Diverse Audiences."  The meeting will take place in Atlantic City, New Jersey from August 19-23, 2018. For more information, visit the website.

2018 255th American Chemical Society National Meeting
March 18 - 22, 2018 | New Orleans, theme: "Nexus of Food, Energy & Water." ACS National Meeting website.

2018 American Society for Microbiology "Microbe 2018"
June 7–11 in Atlanta–connecting scientists with their science–showcases the best microbial sciences in the world, and provides a one-of-a-kind forum to explore the complete spectrum of microbiology from basic science to translation and application. Eight tracks allow you to narrow in on your scientific niche, and connect with the experts in your field. More information.

2018 Atlantic Estuarine Research Society
April 5-7, 2018 in Rehoboth Beach, DE- The spring 2018 meeting will celebrate and reflect on the historical role of the society in advancing coastal and estuarine science and management. In the spirit of the free-wheeling discussions of the society’s early years, we will challenge both senior and young professionals to help chart the future of AERS, grounded in our lessons from the past.

Scholarships and Assistantships

Scientist Sentinels: Civic Engagement & Leadership Program

We’re excited to be providing a 6-month leadership program focusing on civic engagement for scientists and researchers. This program kicks off with a 3-day in-person retreat May 29 – June 1, 2018 in Seattle, WA. The 15 scientists selected for our program will join 5 Science and Democracy Fellows supported by the Union of Concerned Scientists for an intensive retreat on the policy landscape, the role of science in decision-making, leadership, and science communication skills. All natural and social scientists currently residing in the U.S. are eligible to apply. We particularly encourage scientists studying topics with bearing on environmental issues. Due February 20, 2018. Learn more

EcologyPlus: Where Diversity Meets Opportunity

A new project, funded by the National Science Foundation, to broaden participation in ecology.  EcologyPlus is an alliance of 15 partners led by ESA and will provide diverse students in the Greater DC area with paid career mentoring, networking, research/internship and skills development opportunities. Undergraduate, graduate students, and recent graduates in the Great Washington DC area are encouraged to apply here. Deadline: Extended until filled.

Research Opportunities at the US Forest Service Research and Development (R&D)

Research opportunities routinely become available at the US Forest Service Research and Development (R&D), a component of the U.S. Department of Agriculture. R&D works at the forefront of science to improve the health and use of our Nation's forests and grasslands. Research areas include invasive species, inventory and analysis, outdoor recreation, resource management, water, air and soil, wildland fire and fuel, and wildlife and fish. For more information, click here. Deadline: rolling applications.

Chesapeake Bay Environmental Research with the U.S. Army

One research opportunity is available with the U.S. Army Garrison - Aberdeen Proving Ground, Directorate of Public Works (APGDPW). Qualified candidates should have completed a Bachelor and/or Master degree in biological sciences, forestry, environmental science, environmental engineering within the past five years.  U.S. citizenship is required. Research participant will assist senior level scientists and engineers who are responsible to create and to sustain the mission landscape through a proactive program of diverse activities that simultaneously promote environmental stewardship for the Chesapeake Bay and its natural and living resources while simultaneously supporting mission related activities. Candidate will be well versed in technical and scientific principles associated with natural resource management.


Please review our Information on UMCES Students and Graduate Programs for guidelines and statistics about UMCES Students.  

Information, guidance, and expectations of UMCES students in the Student Handbook.