Joslyn Primicias readily admits her application was just a shot in the dark. But as she has learned, you will never win a national competitive scholarship if you don’t apply for it.
Primicias, a University of Tennessee at Chattanooga environmental science major and Innovations Scholar, has been selected as a 2021 National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Ernest F. Hollings Scholar. The scholarship program provides successful undergraduates academic assistance for two years of full-time study and a 10-week, full-time paid internship at an NOAA facility during the summer.
Primicias is the first UTC student to win the award. She learned of the opportunity from her advisor, Leslie Pusey, the University’s Office of National Scholarships director.
“I’m one of Leslie’s only environmental advisees, and she never had a student apply for it before,” Primicias said. “So she asked me, ‘Will you apply for me so that we can get familiar with the whole process?’ I figured I’d give it a try. There’s no harm in it.
“When I got the acceptance email, it was like my life was falling into place right before my eyes.”
The Hollings Undergraduate Scholarship was established in 2005 in honor of South Carolina Sen. Ernest F. Hollings, who was well-known for supporting ocean policy and conservation. He passed away in 2019.
The scholarship will pay for Primicias’ next two years of school, while the NOAA internship will take place during the summer of 2022. Scholars also receive funding to present their NOAA research projects at two national scientific conferences.
“I want to study and research under the umbrella of environmental sustainability and restoration,” Primicias said, “but my dream would be working with wildlife and being out in the wilderness. While NOAA is climate and environment-focused, it will give me the scientific and research experiences that I need to follow my goals.”
A native of Cordova, Tennessee, Primicias said she will soon be paired with an NOAA mentor who will help her figure out where next summer’s internship will take place. NOAA has facilities throughout the country.
“I am very excited, and I’m also a little apprehensive,” Primicias said. “It was a shot in the dark applying, but now that it’s real, I’m like, ‘Wow, this is going to be a challenge.’ This will be one of the hardest programs that I will be a part of, but it will be something that will help me more than anything else as well.
“I’m excited not only for the work and the project that I’m going to be focusing on, but for the networking and the people I’ll be able to meet. It will be pushing me into my career path even further. It’s going to be perfect.”