MI students land prestigious scholarships
Thursday, November 22, 2012

The Fisheries and Marine Institute (MI) of Memorial University of Newfoundland held its annual Autumn Presentation of Scholarships and Awards ceremony this week which awarded eighty-six scholarships to seventy-nine students and two awards.

The ceremony was presided over by Dr. Gary Kachanoski, president and vice-chancellor of Memorial University; Glenn Blackwood, vice-president, Memorial University (Marine Institute); and Mr. Dan Crummell, MHA for St. John's West and parliamentary secretary to the Minister of Advanced Education and Skills.

 MI Scholarships and awards are provided by an assortment of organizations, companies, individuals and MI industry partners. The fuding helps MI reward hard working students and it plays a role in the institute's ability to attract new students from across Newfoundland and Labrador and Canada.

Additionally, three graduate students at MI were awarded Research & Development Corporation (RDC) Ocean Industries Student Research Awards. Recipients Andrew Murphy, M.Sc. Biology, and Truong Nguyen, PhD Environmental Science, are both conducting their research with MI's Centre for Sustainable Aquatic Resources (CASR); while Daria Gallardi, M.Sc. Aquaculture, works with MI's Centre for Aquaculture and Seafood Development (CASD).

Murphy, was awarded with a one year $20,000 scholarship to conduct his research project on the use of fish pots (stationary fishing gear) to capture flatfish species while reducing the incidental catch of snow crab in the Green Bay region around Triton, NL.

"I was ecstatic when I heard I was the recipient of this scholarship," exclaimed Murphy. "A scholarship worth this much means I can live comfortably as a student for the time being. None of this would have been possible if it weren't for the help of my supervisor, Dr. Scott Grant, in the application process."

Murphy is using his scholarship to pay for school and the costs of living in St. John's. He also plans to use some of the award to attend an international conference related to his field of study next year.

While his ultimate career goal is to become a fisheries biologist, his short term goal is to pursue a job similar to his current work.

"Once I complete my program I'd like to work somewhere I can collaborate with industry to solve problems in the ocean industries which will increase the sustainability of our fisheries," explained Murphy.

As for Nguyen, he was the recipient of a $70,000 RDC scholarship over the period of seven semesters to allow him to complete his research project on the development of environmentally-friendly bottom trawls capable of catching commercial quantities of shellfish, but with reduced seabed impact compared to conventional bottom trawling systems.

While Nguyen is enrolled in the PhD Environmental Science Program on Memorial's St. John's campus, his project is being conducted in collaboration with the applied research team at CSAR, as well as key industry partners such as Vónin Canada Ltd. and Vónin Ltd.

"The RDC funding offers me the opportunity to conduct my research and learn alongside Newfoundland and Labrador's knowledgeable fishermen, fishing gear manufacturers and staff at CSAR," expressed Nguyen. "I really appreciate my supervisors Dr. Paul Winger, Dr. Scott Grant, Kelly Moret and all the CSAR staff and graduate students for their constant help, support and encouragement towards my studies at CSAR and this award."

Nguyen's career goal is to work as a fisheries researcher in the field of fishing gear design and testing. While he would like the opportunity to one day work with CSAR, the Department of Fisheries and Oceans, or even gear manufacturers in the region he is staying focused on the present.

"Right now I need to focus on working and studying hard in order to gain the necessary skills and working knowledge within my field of research," said Nguyen. "I really enjoy studying, working and living in Newfoundland and Labrador because the experiences offered here are different from anywhere else in the world."

Gallardi was awarded with a $13,300 RDC scholarship for the last two semesters of her M.Sc. Aquaculture program. As part of her program, Gallardi is conducting her work in conjunction with MI's Centre for Aquaculture and Seafood Development (CASD), the Ocean Sciences Centre on Memorial's St. John's campus and completed her field and lab work at The Department of Fisheries and Oceans.

"I am using the award as part of my stipend in order to pay tuitions, leave and be able to enjoy my work, without economic worries!," explained Gallardi. "I will also use part of the award to travel for conferences, since I believe that meeting the industry and other researchers is the best way to apply science and make it public for others who are interested in it."

Gallardi is conducting her research on the biochemical parameters (lipids, glycogen, fatty acids) of blue mussels kept in holding facilities after harvest and before going to the market, with a special focus on the quality of the mussel and the final product that is shipped to the market.

Gallardi spends a lot of her time in the lab, but she is always eager to participate in field work where she can be in direct contact with the industry. Her goal is to be able to do her part in showcasing the aquaculture industry to the public, while helping it grow.