2015 National Save The Sea Turtle Scholarship Awards.

Charles E.Schmidt College of Science
Office of the Dean
777 Glades Road
Boca Raton, FL 33431-0991
tel: 561.297-3035
fax: 561.297-3792

Dr. Janet Blanks
Interim Dean
6 January 2016

The National Save the Sea Turtle Foundation Mr. Frank Wojcik
4419 W.Tradewinds Avenue
Ft. Lauderdale, FL 33308

Dear Frank,

I'm so glad that I got the opportunity to be present when you made your gift to FAU's Marine Lab. It was a wonderful opportunity to see first hand the wonderful work being done at the lab and how integral your support has been.

I think that, as you read the enclosed letters from this year's fall scholarship recipients, you will be impressed at the high caliber of these students and very proud of thier work.

We are so grateful for your continued support and the vote of confidence that you give us along with each donation.

With gratitude, Janet Blanks
Interim Director
Boca Raton • Dania Beach • Davie • Ft. Lauderdale • Jupiter • Harbor Branch
An Equal Opportunity/Equal Access Institution

Dear Mr. Wojcik and National Save the Sea Turtle Foundation,

Thank you for your support of my doctoral research at Florida Atlantic University. I am working on a comparative study of elasmobranch biomechanics to better understand how diffrent sharks swim. Organismal research, such as comparative biomechanics, helps us to understand how animals function on individual, population, and ecosystem levels and therefore make more informed management decisions. This funding will help me to keep live animals in captivity at the Gumbo Limbo Nature Center for experiments as well as educational displays. I believe that as scientists it is our responsibility to work with the community to pass on our love for the natural world and foster a passion for science in the next generation. Working as a marine aquarium guide at Gumbo Limbo, I am able to engage the community about the importance of our oceans and conserving the biodiversity that creates a functional ecosystem. Additionally, I will be able to mentor undergraduate students and give them hands on animal husbandry and applied biomechanics research experience. Funding from the National Save the Sea Turtle Foundation will alsom give me opportunities to attend meetings and workshops that will increase my skills as a scientist and communicator. Networking with scientists from all over the globe not only helps me grow as a scientist, but also allows me to bring light to my research on national and international level.

I truly appreciate your support of my research and journey into the academic field.

With utmost sincerity,
Sarah Hoffmann

Charles E.Schmidt College of Science
Department of Biological Sciences
777 Glades Road
Boca Raton, FL 33431
tel: 561.297-0146
fax: 561.297-2749
December 19, 2015
Dear Mr. Wojcik and the National Save the Sea Turtle Foundation,

My name is Jake Lasala, I am a PhD student at Florida Atlantic University and I am one of the recipients of the 2015 National Save the Sea Turtle Scholarships from FAU. I would like to thank you for you generosity.

The purpose of my project is to fill a hole that exists in our knowledge of sea turtle behavior and population structure. Often we as researchers focus our efforts on nesting females and hatchlings as they leave the beach, but we rarely are interested in how the males are contributing to the population. My research aims to answer how males are contributing to nesting beaches and how many are related to one another. By examining paternity (specifically multiple paternity), I can access these answers and hopefully learn how males interact with the population as a whole. In order to better conserve these species we must discover how the whole population works.

By the end of the 2015 nesting season I had noninvasively sampled from over 135 nesting females and over 2700 hatchlings, encompassing three species(Loggerhead, Leatherback and Green) and three nesting beaches (Jupiter, Boca Raton and Sanibel, FL). Each sample needs to be genotyped and compared to determine paternity. The scholarship will be used to genotype many of these samples and hopefully we will have some answers to present at the International Symposium for Sea Turtle Biology and Conservation in Lima, Peru this coming March. This scholarship has made it possible for me to continue on with my research and my education so that I can better my future and achieve my goals. Thank you again, one day I hope to give back to future students just as you have graciously given to me.

Sincerely, Jake Lasala
Boca Raton • Dania Beach • Davie • Fort Lauderdale • Jupiter • Treasure Coast
An Equal Opportunity/Equal Access Institution

Dear Mr. Wojcik and the National Save the Sea Turtle Foundation,

Thank you very much for the honor of receiving this prestigious scholarship. This scholarship is extremely important to me because I am just beginning the process of my graduate research and learning how difficult it can be to attain funding. I plan to continue my education for several years, and any help along the way is extremely appreciated. This funding will help me make a bigger difference in my research and be more successful in my career.

After receiving my master's degree in biology, I plan to continue on to receive a Ph.D in a field related to wildlife biology and conservation of sea turtles. My ultimate goal is to inspire students the way that many of my professors have inspired me. As a professor, I would be able to gain the best of both worlds by sharing my knowledge to motivate others, while also leading my own research projects.

Currently, I am a graduate student with FAU and work as a student researcher at the FAU Marine Lab at Gumbo Limbo Nature Center. I am now trained in husbandrty of loggerhead, green, and leatherback sea turtles that benefit long term research projects. This is time consuming work that counts as either volunteer or class credit. In additionto this I have my own reseach to conduct, classes to take, and I am a Teaching Assistant for Anatomy and Physiology.
I do not have time to devote to a job outside of these responsibilities, so this funding means a lot to me! Words cannot fully express my gratitude, but I genuinely thank you for you generous contribution.

Tori Erb

December 18, 2015
Dear Mr. Wojcik

I would like to personally thank you for the National Save the Sea Turtle Scholarship and to express my sincerest gratitude for your generosity. This scholarship has allowed me to comfortably continue my graduate education with FAU and allowed me to focus on my future in sea turtle research.

I entered the doctoral program in Integrative Biology at FAU in Fall 2014, though I received my undergraduate degree here as well. As an undergraduate, I was introduced to the fascinating world of sea turtle biology and was very fortunate to begin a project on sex determination in sea turtles. My project examined the role of moisture in sex differentiation, which is a topic that I have continued to explore during my graduate career. My current research examines the impacts of moisture on sex determination as well as possible other environmental factors that may influence sex determination. As an undergraduate and graduate student, I also have enjoyed the opportunity to share our lab's research with the public throught outreach and education.

Thank you again for your support and generosity. This scholarship will play an instrumental role in my blossoming graduate career.

Alexandra Lolavar

Dear Frank Wojcik/National Save the Sea Turtle Foundation,

Thank you so much for awarding me the National Save the Sea Turtle Scholarship. I greatly appreciate your generosity. This scholarship will allow me to move forward with my studies on the comparative approach on the tensile properties of shark skin. Recently I have been able to run multiple successful tests within the early stages of my project. The National Save the Sea Turtle Scholarship will allow me to purchase the necessary supplies and materials I need for dissecting, traveling, and skin testing.

I am truly grateful for receiving such a highly respected and wonderful scholarship. Having been chosen for this scholarship means the world to me. Thank you for this opportunity!

Shelby Creager
Master's Student
Department of Biological Sciences
Florida Atlantic University