2020 FIU ForEverglades Scholarship Awardees

Since 2008, the FIU ForEverglades Scholarship has been preparing the next generation of scientists and leaders who will be protecting America’s Everglades.

This year, four out of the seven awarded students are from FIU.

Each year, FIU’s Institute of Environment and The Everglades Foundation partner to support student researchers conducting work in the River of Grass. From improving water management practices, following non-native species populations, influencing species management, exploring restoration solutions and diving into the environmental economics of the national park, FIU students have been changing the future of the Everglades for the better.

“The FIU ForEverglades scholarship has allowed me to continue to generate data and information on peat collapse that can be used by policymakers, water managers and key stakeholders to advocate for Everglades Restoration,” said Lukas Lamb-Wotton, former recipient of the FIU ForEverglades scholarship. “Keeping the pressure on the ocean by sending more freshwater to the coast is our best option for sustaining these coastal marshes for generations to come.”

A total of 41 ForEverglades alumni are from FIU. The Everglades Foundation provides matching funds for awarded scholars, in addition to a variety of graduate research opportunities emphasizing science that informs policy and management for protecting and restoring the iconic ecosystem.

Former recipient of the FIU ForEverglades scholarship, Carissa Gervasi, tagged and tracked 82 Crevalle Jack thanks in large part to the funding provided by the scholarship. The sufficient sample size is crucial in elucidading population-level trends.

The  scholarship also does more than just support research. The program also bolsters each students’ professional development and career path.

“I would credit the FIU ForEverglades scholarship with all of my graduate school accomplishments. With their continued support throughout my graduate career, I was able to attend conferences, conduct interesting research on my own terms, and ultimately graduate with my master’s degree in environmental studies,” said Chloe Vorseth, FIU ForEverglades recipient. “Without this scholarship, I certainly would not be where I am today as a person and researcher. This scholarship has impacted me in so many ways and will certainly influence my career decisions into the future.”

Vorseth’s experience with the FIU ForEverglades scholarship allowed her to forge an important relationship with a lifelong mentor, Andrew Stainback who works as the economist for The Everglades Foundation. “He has been an excellent source of guidance throughout my graduate school experience. He remains one of my closest mentors and advisers and serves as an excellent role model as a successful economist and researcher,” she emphasized.

This year’s awardees are:

  • Ikechukwu Onwuka will be awarded $25,000 for research on “Minimizing Phosphorus Loads from Increased Freshwater Deliveries in the Everglades”
  • Jonathan Rodemann will be awarded $15,000 for research on “Fine-scale Movement and Habitat Use of Recreational Sportfish in Relation to Seagrass Habitat Structure and Composition”
  • Natasha Viadero will be awarded $10,000 for her research: “Between Dry Rock and a Salty Place: Can the Coastal Everglades Support a Freshwater Largemouth Bass Population in the Face of Sea Level Rise?”
  • Chloé Vorseth who will be awarded $25,000 for her research titled “An Economic Valuation of Lake Okeechobee and the Northern Estuaries in the Greater Everglades Ecosystem”

Onwuka, Rodemann and Viadero were each awarded an FIU ForEverglades Scholarship. Vorseth was awarded the 2020 ForEverglades Patrick Lee Fellowship.

These 12-month scholarships fund stipends, travel, or research-related expenses for full-time graduate students pursuing cutting-edge research related to restoring the Florida Everglades.

Applications for the 2021 FIU ForEverglades Scholars and Fellows Program will open in February 2021.

This program is made possible by the generous contribution of alumni and donors helping to advance science-driven solutions for Everglades restoration efforts. For more information on the FIU ForEverglades program, click here. To find out more about the program’s accomplishments, explore the 2020 impact report.