Horn Point Laboratory students awarded scholarships by Izaak Walton League of America

July 18, 2023
2023 recipients with (left) Suzanne Sullivan, Mid-Shore Chapter selections coordinator and (right) Jamie Pierson, Mid-Shore Chapter President.

Izaak Walton League of America (IWLA) Mid-Shore Chapter and Maryland Division awarded a total $16,000 in scholarships to seven local students, including Horn Point Laboratory graduate students  David Garcia, Michael Kalinowski and Shayna Keller, at their  Mid-Shore’s June 29th dinner at Bolingbroke Park in Trappe.  Four high school students, one from each county served by the Mid-Shore Chapter and the three graduate students from the Horn Point Laboratory – University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science were this year’s scholarship recipients.  David received a $3,000 scholarship from the IWLA Maryland Division, and Michael and Shayna each received $2,500 from IWLA’s Mid-Shore Chapter. 

Shayna shares with attendees her background, research and how she will use her scholarship.

David will apply his scholarship towards sequencing the DNA of two different marine systems to identify zooplankton and fish communities capable of living in low oxygen systems.  He studies species ability to genetically adapt to environments with extremely low oxygen.  David gathers his samples from the Eastern Tropical South Pacific Oxygen Deficient Zone (off Baja California, Mexico) and the Hood Canal (Puget Sound, WA). These two systems provide data from 1) a system with no oxygen and 2) a system with extremely low oxygen.

In early August, Michael will attend a week-long course about microbial fuel cells at Washington State University in Pullman, WA. Michael studies a special kind of bacteria that lives in the sediments in aquatic systems, called cable bacteria. These form long thin strands that conduct electricity from the surface of the sediment down deep.  The cable bacteria use this electricity to allow them to survive and grow in these environments. Michael's work will help us understand the role of cable bacteria around oyster aquaculture facilities in the Chesapeake Bay in mitigating the harmful materials generated in oyster filtration. 

With her scholarship, Shayna Keller will complete an online course for identification and qualification of harmful marine algae.  She will travel to the University of Copenhagen in Denmark to complete the course by attending a ten-day intensive workshop.  Shayna is studying a type of cyanobacteria called Lyngbya that grows from the sediment and attaches to sea grasses. These long filamentous cyanobacteria are photosynthetic and produce toxins.  Shayna's research will help understand how the presence of cyanobacteria, Lyngbya, affect the sea grass beds at Susquehanna Flats, in the upper Chesapeake Bay.

(Left to right) Mike Sieracki, Director Horn Point Lab, Shayna Keller, Michael Kalinowski, Jamie Pierson, President Mid-Shore Chapter and HPL faculty and David Garcia.

This scholarship program has provided tremendous opportunities for Horn Point Laboratory students to advance their studies for more than 20 years.  The IWLA Mid-Shore Chapter funds these annual scholarships through the generosity of Mrs. Florence Harper’s estate.  Previous to Mrs. Harper’s gift, the scholarship program was funded by managing the recycling of newspaper and aluminum cans in Easton and St. Michaels.