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Emily Aiken sounds like a campus recruiter when she explains why she chose CSU Monterey Bay for graduate school.

Emily in diving mask“It’s got a booming marine science program,” she said, “and an excellent faculty who are actively involved in research and serve as great advisers.”

Then she shifts into Chamber-of-Commerce mode and mentions the close proximity to a pristine coastline, the “incredible” diving and recreational opportunities, and “breathtaking landscapes and seascapes.”

Aiken is about to graduate with a degree in marine science and has chosen to stay at CSUMB to pursue a master’s degree in Applied Marine and Watershed Science.

The Morongo Valley native has gotten help to cover the costs: she has been awarded a coveted Nancy Foster Scholarship by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Office of National Marine Sanctuaries.

The scholarship will give her $42,000 a year for two years to cover the cost of tuition and provide salary and travel support.

Aiken will work in CSUMB’s Institute for Applied Marine Ecology (IfAME). Her thesis will be developed around a remotely operated vehicle project in the Gulf of the Farallones National Marine Sanctuary, looking at the distribution of fishes relative to deep water corals.

Emily and friendDuring three years with the university’s Undergraduate Research Opportunities Center, she led several underwater projects, participated in research cruises and collaborated with the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary to conserve its resources.

“My long-term goal is to continue my involvement with the marine sanctuaries in conserving our nation’s natural and cultural heritage through research and public outreach,” she said.

Aiken is the third CSUMB graduate student in the last four years to be awarded a Foster scholarship.

The Dr. Nancy Foster Scholarship program recognizes outstanding scholarship and encourages independent graduate-level research in marine sciences – particularly by female and minority students. Only a few are awarded annually.

Congress authorized the program soon after Dr. Foster’s death in June 2000, as a means of honoring her life’s work as a marine scientist and her contribution to the nation.

To learn more about the master’s program in Applied Marine and Watershed Science, click here.

To learn more about the Institute for Applied Marine Ecology, click here.