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Terp Awarded NOAA Hollings Scholarship

Prestigious Award Will Fund Student’s Meteorological, Climate Research

By Emily C. Nunez

HJ Patterson Building at sunset

NOAA Hollings Scholarship recipient Olivia Griffith (below) hopes an internship included in the award bolsters her weather forecasting, math and GIS skills while helping her pick up new ones, like coding.

Campus photo by Riley Sims Ph.D. ’23

A rising University of Maryland junior is one of 129 students nationwide awarded a 2024 National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration scholarship to support the research of exceptional undergraduates.

As a recipient of the Ernest F. Hollings Undergraduate Scholarship, atmospheric and oceanic science (AOSC) major Olivia Griffith will receive up to $19,000 over two years, plus professional development opportunities and a paid summer internship at any NOAA facility nationwide. Since the program kicked off in 2009, 55 UMD students have been awarded Hollings Scholarships.

Olivia Griffith headshot

Griffith already has a different two-year internship nailed down at NOAA’s Center for Weather and Climate Prediction in College Park. She hasn’t selected her Hollings internship for summer 2025 yet, but she plans to focus on a related topic.

“We’re working on tropical storm transitions to help mariners create a better escape route” from approaching storms, Griffith said of that early-stage research.

Griffith has long been interested in meteorology and the environment, faithfully watching local weather reports while growing up in Philadelphia. She developed a passion for sustainability after reading about the waste generated by fast fashion brands, prompting her to learn how to sew her own clothes.

At UMD, Griffith switched her major to AOSC after taking lecturer Jeff Henrikson’s “Causes and Implications of Global Change” course.

“He got me interested more in the science-y side of environmental science rather than policy,” Griffith said.

Griffith is also pursuing a remote sensing of environmental change minor in the Department of Geographical Sciences. One of her classes this summer, GEOG418: “Field and Laboratory Techniques in Environmental Science,” will include camping for 10 days in West Virginia’s Monongahela National Forest, where she and her classmates will learn about hydrology and drone GIS (geographic information systems).

Last winter, Griffith traveled to Vietnam for a UMD study abroad experience focused on climate-resilient development in the Southeast Asian country’s Mekong Delta region. She had an up-close view of mangrove forests, which store carbon that could otherwise seep into the atmosphere to intensify climate change, and also protect local communities by acting as a natural buffer against high winds and storms.

Griffith also credits her experiences in UMD’s Environment, Technology and Economy Scholars Program for teaching her new mentoring skills.

“It was really rewarding,” she said. “We had the opportunity to mentor five freshmen, and we got close with them. We guided them and helped them choose their yearlong project, which is usually an internship.”

Griffith also will begin serving this fall as co-director of recruitment for UMD’s chapter of Epsilon Eta, a professional fraternity focused on environmental science and sustainability. During her summers away from campus, she also tutors elementary school students in Philadelphia through Mathnasium, a math learning center.

At NOAA, she hopes to improve her weather forecasting, math and GIS skills while picking up some new ones, like coding.

“This scholarship is an amazing opportunity for students to take the next step in our careers,” Griffith said. “As for the internship, I am most excited about having the opportunity to live in a new place and work alongside some of the best meteorologists in the country.”



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