Shira Presberg '24 Receives NOAA Hollings Scholarship

Presberg will use the award to continue atmospheric chemistry research with Professor Matt Elrod.

May 4, 2022

Amanda Nagy

Professor Matt Elrod and student Shira Presberg in a lab.
Professor Matt Elrod and Shira Presberg work in Elrod's atmospheric chemistry lab.
Photo credit: Jonathan Clark '25

Second-year chemistry major Shira Presberg is a 2022 recipient of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Hollings Undergraduate Scholarship. 

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.

Presberg is currently a research assistant in Professor of Chemistry Matthew Elrod’s atmospheric chemistry lab, where they are working on projects to understand secondary organic aerosols. 

“Secondary organic aerosols are very prevalent in the atmosphere, yet we know very little about what they are made up of and what reactions happen in them,” Presberg explains. “These aerosols play a role in both climate change and pollution, so it is important to learn as much as possible about what they could contain.”

This summer, Presberg will continue to work in Elrod’s lab. “I love the work that I am doing in the Elrod lab because it combines my interest in chemistry with my desire to contribute to our knowledge about the environment and how humans have changed it. I applied to the Hollings Scholarship because it would give me an opportunity to work with career researchers at a NOAA facility and see what it would look like to pursue that path myself. I am very excited both for the summer internship opportunity and to meet new mentors in the field of environmental chemistry.”

A resident of Rochester, New York, Presberg participates in club tennis and takes secondary lessons in piano through the conservatory.  

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