Double degree student Nick Beltramini hopes to contribute to the management, regulation, and public appreciation of marine fisheries as a National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Hollings Scholar.
The Hollings Scholarship Program awards undergraduates with academic assistance (up to $9,500 per year) for two years of full-time study and a 10-week, full-time paid internship at a NOAA facility during the summer. The internship between the first and second years of the award provides scholars with hands-on, practical experience in NOAA-related science, research, technology, policy, management, and education activities. Awards also include travel funds to attend a mandatory NOAA Scholarship Program orientation and the annual Science & Education Symposium, scientific conferences where students present their research, and a housing subsidy for scholars who do not reside at home during the summer internship.
Beltramini is in his third year as a double degree student majoring in environmental studies and jazz performance. This summer, he has an internship with Jeff Kneebone of the Anderson Cabot Center for Ocean Life, where he will be tagging mako sharks and yellowfin tuna offshore to monitor the potential adverse effects of catch and release.
“I grew up obsessed with fishing, and I still am,” says Beltramini, who is from Wrentham, Massachusetts. “I was heavily involved in the local fisheries and the local fishing community, and it’s quite obvious that overfishing pressures and poor management have negatively impacted our nation's fisheries, including the local fisheries I grew up with. I want to make a difference and feel that I can make a difference in the end. NOAA is arguably the largest national player in terms of fisheries management, and that’s where I want to be.”
Beltramini says his combination of studies in the double degree program gives him a distinct advantage when tackling challenges.
“I firmly believe that music makes me a better scientist and science makes me a better musician,” he says. Most importantly, leading the band Slightly Tooned has been the most influential experience of my life to date. Learning how to communicate with people, be a leader, and acquire all the necessary skills it takes to run a business have been incredibly important to my ability to achieve as a scientist.”
Off campus, Beltramini has performed research at the Marine Biological Laboratory in Woods Hole, where he headed a project on methylmercury bioaccumulation of trout in kettle ponds. He has also aided and will continue to be involved in NOAA-funded research monitoring sandbar shark mortality for the New England Aquarium.
When he’s not practicing or studying, Beltramini plays club soccer at Oberlin, and there’s a good chance he can be found on the rivers casting for steelhead.
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