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USGS Intern Receives Fulbright Scholarship

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Lauren Yeager
Above: Lauren Yeager, USGS intern and recipient of a Fulbright Scholarship.

Lauren Yeager conducting fieldwork in an estuarine tidal wetland with Adam Brame
Above: Lauren Yeager (left) conducting fieldwork in an estuarine tidal wetland with Adam Brame (USGS, St. Petersburg). [larger version]

Lauren Yeager, a U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) intern and graduate of Eckerd College in St. Petersburg, Fla., received a Fulbright Scholarship to fund her self-designed research project on coral-reef ecology along the Meso-American reef tract off the east coast of the Yucatán Peninsula, Mexico. She will be working for a year with Jesus Ernesto Arias Gonzalez, a professor at the Centro de Investigación y de Estudios Avanzados (Cinvestav) in their Marine Resources Department. Her work will focus on habitat utilization by juvenile reef fish; although the details haven't been determined, she will be working out of Merida conducting fieldwork in a large area along the east coast of the Yucatán, with an emphasis on comparing data from protected and nonprotected coastal areas. She is excited about the prospect of studying in a foreign country, speaking another language, and following her dream of conducting scientific studies in marine science.

When Lauren was in elementary school, she decided that she wanted to work in marine science. She attended Eckerd College specifically because she was interested in the college's strong marine-science program. Encouraged by her professors at Eckerd, she sought a summer internship with the USGS after her freshman year. Lauren worked as a USGS intern in summer 2003, and she enjoyed the experience so much that she has continued to work for the USGS as her school schedule permits. Throughout this time, she has supported several studies related to mangroves and fish ecology, working on data collected in the Everglades and Tampa Bay, while maintaining a 4.0 grade-point average in school. "I have learned as much from working at the USGS as I have in my undergraduate studies at Eckerd. At the USGS, I was able to participate in fieldwork and get the kind of practical experience you can't get in the classroom."

Lauren has taken full advantage of her opportunities at the USGS. She used some of the data she helped collect to develop her own research project. She gave an oral presentation at the First International Symposium on Mangroves as Fish Habitat, held in Miami, Fla., April 19-21, 2006 (see related Sound Waves article, USGS and Integrated Science at First International Symposium on Mangroves as Fish Habitat). "It was really a great opportunity to go to a symposium and meet all the other scientists. I met several scientists that I knew only by reading their articles, so I was familiar with their work, but at the symposium I had a chance to meet them in person. Attending this meeting was a great opportunity for me."

Lauren has also prepared a manuscript from this research. "I have been very fortunate to work with Carole McIvor and her group; their guidance and support were invaluable. I developed an aspect of work I did with her group into a manuscript that is currently in review with the Bulletin of Marine Science. It's really difficult for an undergraduate to publish in a journal, but the USGS support has made a lot of great things possible."

Lauren's internship is supported through a formal cooperative agreement between the USGS and Eckerd College established more than 8 years ago. As part of this agreement, the USGS hosts at least 3 students each summer and several others during the school year. These USGS internships have provided many Eckerd students with the opportunity to contribute to USGS scientific activities and to learn firsthand about the work that scientists do, training many of them for scientific careers. Of the numerous interns who have worked at the USGS offices in Tampa and St. Petersburg, many have continued their scientific studies, earning advanced degrees and pursuing successful scientific careers. Lauren plans to return to the United States after her year in Mexico to pursue a Ph.D. in reef-fish habitat use and ecology.

Related Sound Waves Stories
USGS and Integrated Science at First International Symposium on Mangroves as Fish Habitat
July 2006

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cover story:
Oil Spill Response Exercise

Mapping the Sea Floor Off Santa Barbara, CA

Research Underwater Sand Waves Seaward of Golden Gate Bridge

Manatee Traveler in Northeastern Waters Not Chessie

Cat Parasite May Affect Cultural Traits in Human Populations

Outreach MIT Students Visit USGS Woods Hole

USGS Participates in Waquoit Bay Watershed Block Party

Awards USGS Intern Receives Fulbright Scholarship

Staff USGS Employees Make Semifinals in Local Outrigger-Canoe Races

Publications usSEABED: Sediment Data for the Northern Gulf of Mexico and Caribbean

New Coastal and Marine Digital Library

September 2006 Publications List

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