Science of Conservation Program Announces New Scholarship Winners

Unique partnerships seeks to assist marine scientists of tomorrow

Shimano and the CCA Music City Chapter are proud to announce the latest round of recipients for Coastal Conservation Association’s Science of Conservation (SOC) Scholarship Program, which is designed to assist students furthering their marine science education at world-class facilities around the country. The SOC program emphasizes joint efforts to improve understanding of the marine environment and enhance the role that recreational anglers can play as stewards of our shared marine resources. Shimano is proud to announce that Lily Walker and Rachael Klose have been selected for SOC scholarships, while the CCA Music City Chapter is honored to bestow its scholarship on Lexie Neffinger.

“The future of our marine resources is only going to become more challenging and we are proud to collaborate with renowned marine science centers to prepare the next generation of scientists to meet those challenges,” said Pat Murray, president of CCA National. “Science is at the core of formulating all our policy decisions, so helping to ensure the best and brightest of the next generation have everything they need to continue their education is a win for marine resources and for anglers.”

“Shimano strongly believes that the foundation of resource management is making science-based decisions,” said Dave Pfeiffer, president of Shimano North American Fishing Inc. “We are thrilled to be able to support the future of these students in this very important field and wish them the best in completing their degrees.”

Lily Walker is a PhD student in the Coastal and Marine System Science program and works in the Coastal Ecosystem Processes lab of the Harte Research Institute for Gulf of Mexico Studies. The goal of her dissertation research is to increase understanding of estuarine water quality and oxygen dynamics, specifically focusing on physical and chemical drivers of dissolved oxygen. She is the author an article in the current issue of TIDE magazine that looks at the impacts of Saharan dust storms on ecosystems close to home and as a possible catalyst for red tide events in the U.S.

Rachael Klose is a Master’s student in the Fisheries and Mariculture Program at Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi working on oyster aquaculture. At the Harte Research Institute, Rachael is researching biofouling on suspended midwater oyster cages, its effect on oyster growth, and the economic and managerial implications. She received her B.S. in Marine Science with an Aquaculture concentration and a Fisheries minor from the University of Maine in 2019.

Lexie Neffinger is a Master’s student in the Coastal and Marine System Science program and Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi. In her work at the Coastal Conservation & Restoration Lab at the Harte Research Institute for Gulf of Mexico Studies, her research assesses the biotic integrity of the fish and benthic communities in tidal streams along the lower Texas coast. The output of her research will be a bioassessment tool that will help management organizations in Texas provide a standardized way to evaluate the biological communities in tidal streams, identify streams most in need of management attention, and monitor the success of management action.

The Science of Conservation Scholarship Program is a unique partnership among industry, conservation groups, and marine science centers designed to invest in the next generation of marine scientists and prepare them to be the leaders of tomorrow. To learn more about Science of Conservation Scholarship Program and to follow the progress of these deserving students, visit our website.