Scholarships and Financial Support

Our department offers annual competitive scholarships for our majors.  For more information, see the Scholarship Opportunities page of the Financial Aid Office.  In addition, UMW offers generous financial support for student research.  For information contact department chair Dr. Jodie Hayob.

Recent scholarship recipients

Binh Duong (’20), in the photo at below, is the 2019-2020 recipient of the Robert Ericson Scholarship, an award given annually to a rising senior Environmental Science major who has demonstrated excellence in academics, service, and research.  Binh’s research focuses on microplastic pollution. She works with Drs. Ben Kisila and Tyler Frankel to investigate the distribution of microplastics in the lower basin of the Chesapeake Bay in sediment and water samples as well as to examine the interactive toxic effects polyethylene nanoplastics and pesticides have on aquatic invertebrates.

Binh Duong was also a co-recipient, along with Elizabeth (Lizzy) Goernemann (’20; photo above right), of the 2019-2020 Elsa von Muller Leidecker Scholarship.  This award is given annually to a rising senior Environmental Science major with demonstrated excellence in academics, service, and research.  Lizzy is an ES-Natural Science major, who is also completing the Geographic Information Science Certificate program. During the summer of 2019, Lizzy worked as an Environmental Technology and Field Intern with CDM Smith in Wayne, Pennsylvania, and has previously acted as a peer tutor for Geology and Environmental Science at UMW.


Environmental Science-Natural Track student Mary Hoffman (’20) was awarded the 2018 – 2019 Elsa von Muller Leidecker Scholarship.  Under Dr. Tyler Frankel’s supervision, Mary is conducting novel research on possible toxic effects of a new pesticide, known as sulfoxaflor, on the behavior and growth of aquatic invertebrates. She has also worked under Dr. Chuck Whipkey to analyze wind energy potential on the UMW campus.


anna-r-2Anna Ruuskanen was the 2017-2018 Leidecker Scholarship recipient.  She worked on a research project involving collection of  freshwater vertebrates and invertebrates with Dr. Abbie Tomba (Biology Department).  Anna and Dr. Tomba studied the life cycle of trematode parasites, with the ultimate goal of determining how the interactions of the parasites and their hosts affect the Little River ecological community.





The 2016-2017  recipient of the Leidecker scholarship, Thomas (TJ) Muratore (pictured at right), completed his Honors research on biogeochemical processes in wetland soils that control the distribution of a rare aquatic plant.  Currently, TJ is a Master’s student at the University of Kentucky doing agricultural research on soil-crop interactions.







Another recent Leidecker scholarship awardee, Maura Slocum (’16) completed her Honors in Environmental Science project with Dr. Melanie Szulczewski on the ecological effects of acid mine drainage within a stream system in Louisa County, Virginia.  Maura recently completed two years in Senegal with the Peace Corps and is now studying African dark soils as part of the Ph.D. program at the University of Pennsylvania.