Associate Research Professor Eric Schott, a marine ecologist whose research focuses on understanding aquatic health, has been selected by the graduate student body at the University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science’s Institute of Marine and Environmental Technology to receive the Outstanding Faculty Mentor Award for his dedication to both science and his students.
“Eric Schott represents what it means to be an exemplary and exceptional mentor by devoting his time, energy, knowledge, and wisdom to benefit as many students as he can,” said UMCES Graduate Student Council Co-Chair Kia Ramarui.
Active in science education and watershed preservation, Schott’s research focuses on understanding discovery and tracking of estuarine pathogens in the blue crab and other shellfish. He also collaborates with numerous researchers and stakeholders, applying molecular methods to monitor the health and biodiversity of Baltimore Harbor.
Students say he is dedicated to improving diversity, equality, and inclusion in his lab. He is currently advisor to three graduate students—two Ph.D. students from China and Puerto Rico and one master’s student from Nigeria. He has mentored numerous undergraduates and interns in his lab, and for many years has been involved in the IMET Summer Internship program that connects students with scientists to conduct their own research. He is currently the UMCES Project Director of the Living Marine Resources Cooperative Science Center that provides support for graduate students from underrepresented groups in marine and environmental science, preparing them for careers in research, management, and policy that support the sustainable use and conservation of marine resources.
UMCES graduate students say Schott has helped them grow into independent researchers and to be successful in job hunting and career path development, noting that he cares about his students and is always accessible whenever his help is needed, including on weekends. They note that he also knows when to step back and let students work as independently as possible, and he encourages students to attend scientific conferences outside the lab
“He gives students enough support and allows them to learn from their mistakes, knowing they get always get help and benefit from his rich experience afterward,” said graduate student Mingli Zhao.
Located in Baltimore’s Inner Harbor, the Institute of Marine and Environmental Technology is a strategic alliance involving scientists at the University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science, the University of Maryland Baltimore and the University of Maryland Baltimore County. Scientists are engaged in cutting-edge research in microbiology, molecular biology and biotechnology, using marine organisms to develop new drug therapies, alternative energy and innovations to improve public health. IMET contributes to sustainable marine aquaculture and fisheries in the Chesapeake Bay and marine ecosystems. IMET fosters early stage companies and industry partnerships, contributing to economic development in Maryland.