Student’s Research Earns Unique Experience

Heidi Waite, a University of Central Florida biology senior, has been accepted as a Frost Scholar and awarded the Distinguished Undergraduate Researcher Award for May 2017.

Waite graduates in May 2017 and has an exciting and unique road ahead of her. The Frost Scholarship Programme is an extremely competitive program available only to students attending public universities in Florida.

As a Frost Scholar, Waite has the opportunity to acquire a one-year master’s degree in MSc biodiversity conservation and management at the University of Oxford in England. Waite is understandably eager to dive headfirst into her upcoming journey.

“I believe this experience will not only propel me toward a career in conservation research, but it will also broaden and deepen my knowledge of the world,” Waite said.

Before being considered for the Frost Scholarship Programme, students must apply to one of the many programs offered at the University of Oxford. Once accepted into the program, students are automatically considered for the scholarship based on their academic and research merit. Fortunately for Waite, her admirable involvement in research showed the university she fit the bill.

“I have been doing research since spring 2016,” Waite explained. “I assist with oyster reef restoration and living shoreline research in Dr. Linda Walters’ laboratory.”

According to Waite, her time spent in Pegasus Professor Linda Walters’, Ph.D., lab prepared her for the rigor and intensity of the one year master’s program. It has also taught her many valuable skills including grant writing, poster presentation and thesis writing.

Along with her continued restoration efforts, Waite has conducted in-depth research for her undergraduate thesis, which she defended on April 3.

Waite has many plans for her future and she aims to pursue a career in research in academia or government research. She seeks to change her surroundings for the better through her work.

“I hope to use my research to understand how humans impact the environment and marine organisms,” she expressed. “In the end, I aspire to have my research inform policy and conservation decisions.”

With Waite’s determination and hard work, we are confident this is just one of many great achievements she will undertake in her lifetime.

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