Junior Abigail Stevens is the recipient of the 2022-2023 Dr. Kerry Bruce Clark Endowed Scholarship in Marine Biology. The marine biology major will be publicly recognized at 3:30 p.m. April 14 during the Honors Convocation in the Gleason Performing Arts Center on campus.
“The selection committee was impressed by your strong academic record, involvement in research in the laboratories of Drs. (Spencer) Fire and (Darby) Proctor, performance in Dr. (Richard) Aronson’s class on invertebrate zoology, participation in organizations on and off campus, and vision for your further education and your career,” wrote Richard Turner, committee chair, and Aronson, head of ocean engineering and marine sciences, in the letter announcing Stevens’ selection.
“I am honored to have been selected for this scholarship,” Stevens said. “I have worked very hard throughout my years of schooling to achieve what I have today, and I am proud of what I have accomplished so far. I never expected to receive this award, but I appreciate the recognition of my hard work both in the classroom and across campus.”
In addition to her work in the two research labs, Stevens is involved with the Newman Club on campus, where she is currently treasurer and secretary. She also serves as a Resident Assistant in Mary Star of the Sea.
“It is our hope that this award will encourage you in your career development as a marine biologist and will help you with expenses of your final year at Florida Institute of Technology.”
Stevens said that after graduation, she intends to pursue an advanced degree in marine biology, particularly focusing on marine mammals. She would then seek to earn a veterinary medicine degree to become a veterinarian for marine animals.
“My ultimate goal is to work on a rescue team for stranded or distressed marine animals in order to help protect the wildlife of our oceans,” she said. “I wish to apply my knowledge of the marine ecosystem and veterinary skills to rehabilitate animals in need and to advocate for improved conservation methods in order to protect and preserve our oceans.”
Clark, for whom the award is named, was a member of the Florida Tech biological sciences faculty from 1971 until his death in 1999. A full professor, he was named a 1996 Fellow by the American Association for the Advancement of Science in honor of his work documenting rare species of sea slugs. His research on mollusks, marine ecology, physiological ecology and biodiversity was widely published in scientific journals.
When asked how she manages such a full schedule with such success, Stevens said it comes down to two words: time management.
“I am involved in a variety of different activities outside of school including volunteer work, research, and ResLife. As a result, I have developed good time management skills to ensure that I am able to complete schoolwork on time while also having time for my extracurriculars,” she said. “Growing up, I was a competitive swimmer and always had to balance athletics and school. This sport taught me time management from a young age as well as demonstrating the importance of stress relief to school performance. Today, I am able to apply these lessons to my college life to allow me to continue to be successful in class and beyond.”