Florida Tech Student Receives First SOBAC Fellowship

MELBOURNE, FLA.—Jayden Roberts, graduate student at Florida Institute of Technology, Department of Marine and Environmental Systems (DMES), was recently awarded a $1,150 fellowship by the Save Our Bay, Air and Canals/Waterways (SOBAC) Endowed Fellowship Fund. Roberts’ research involves the implications of invasive species on native ecosystems. The Columbus, Mo., native, the first SOBAC fellowship recipient, was honored at an awards ceremony on March 7.

Before it was dissolved in 2006, SOBAC was a nonprofit, citizen-based volunteer organization initially formed in 1999 to question placing the world’s largest desalination plant on the Tampa Bay Estuary. SOBAC experts put on record the organization’s many environmental concerns regarding the plant’s potential effect on water quality. The organization tackled other issues as well, which met their goals to preserve, protect and improve both air and water quality throughout the Tampa Bay region.

A DMES alumnus who was active with SOBAC suggested that the funds remaining in the SOBAC account be used to create a fellowship. With SOBAC’s initial gift of $21,661 to Florida Tech, an endowment fund was established in 2006 to assist graduate students in their studies of air and water quality.

Donations may be made to the SOBAC Endowed Fellowship Fund by calling (321) 674-6162, sending e-mail to Gretchen Sauerman at gsauerman@fit.edu, or writing to the Florida Institute of Technology Office of Development, 150 W. University Blvd., Melbourne, Fla., 32901.

Florida Tech’s environmental science program is part of the DMES. The department offers undergraduate and graduate degrees in coastal zone management, earth remote sensing, environmental science, environmental resource management, marine science, meteorology, ocean engineering and oceanography.

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