July 2, 1999
Upton, NY - Tracy Van Holt of Baldwin has won the 1999 Renate W. Chasman Scholarship for Women. The $2,000 scholarship is awarded annually by Brookhaven Women in Science (BWIS), a not-for-profit organization at the U.S. Department of Energy's Brookhaven National Laboratory. The goal of BWIS is to promote the advancement of women in the scientific professions.
A native of Long Island, Ms. Van Holt earned a B.S. in biochemistry
from the State University of New York (SUNY) at Stony Brook in
1994. Soon after her graduation, she was selected by SUNY Stony
Brook to work on a field biology project in Madagascar, and, after
that experience, she decided that
she was more interested in ecology than biochemistry. After her return from Madagascar in 1996, Ms. Van Holt began an internship in the Education Department of the Wildlife Conservation Society, headquartered at the Bronx Zoo, where she helped to design a new science curriculum.
Upon finishing her internship, Ms. Van Holt began applying to graduate programs to earn her Ph.D. in ecology, but the accidental death of a very close friend interrupted her educational plans. Nevertheless, she landed a full-time position with the Wildlife Conservation Society, where she recently investigated the effects of varying land uses on fish, reptiles and amphibians in the Great Swamp, New York.
This summer, as part of her duties at the Wildlife Conservation Society, Ms. Van Holt will be going to Brazil to study a bird called the hyacinth macaw, which is an endangered species, to determine what factors are affecting their reproductive success. This field research will complement her Ph.D. studies, as she begins graduate courses this fall in a Ph.D. program at the University of Florida.
Ms. Van Holt commented, "My accomplishments to date attest
to my personal and professional commitment to conservation of
biodiversity. In the future, I see myself working in a science-based,
international organization like the Wildlife Conservation SocietySBased
on my field experience, I want
to continue to work in a wetlands habitat because of the critical importance of these ecosystems to both people and animals."
The Chasman Scholarship is named after the late Renate Chasman, a renowned physicist who worked at Brookhaven. The scholarship is intended to encourage women to pursue careers in science, engineering or mathematics. Since its inception in 1986, the award has been presented each year to a re-entry woman - one whose college education was interrupted, but who has returned to pursue a degree on a half-time or greater basis.
The U.S. Department of Energy's Brookhaven National Laboratory
creates and operates major facilities available to university,
industrial and government personnel for basic and applied research
in the physical,
biomedical and environmental sciences, and in selected energy technologies. The Laboratory is operated by Brookhaven Science Associates, a not-for-profit research management company, under contract with the U.S. Department of Energy.