African-American Scholar Program 2022 Recipients
Eleven students were selected to receive scholarship funds and will be invited to participate in Aquarium projects and events through the program, now in its second year
The award recipients were announced during the Aquarium’s annual African American Festival in a ceremony that was streamed live online today.
“The scholar program is so much more than just financial support. It is also the ability to be more inclusive, build community, and allow the scholars the means to get involved with our institution, make career related contacts, and create life-long relationships with other scholars over the years,” says Anthony Brown, Aquarium of the Pacific CFO and scholar program committee lead.
Applications were submitted by students who demonstrated a commitment to studies related to careers in the aquarium field, including ocean education, animal husbandry, water quality, building maintenance or facilities, microbiology, and business management. Award recipients were selected by a committee including Aquarium staff members and members of the community. Each of the recipients will receive $10,000 and will also be invited to the Aquarium to participate in conservation projects, meetings, and other activities.
This program is possible thanks to funding from individuals and corporate supporters, including Aquarium of the Pacific Board members and staff members, The Ahmanson Foundation, The Boeing Company, and Poms & Associates. The public is also invited to support the Aquarium’s African American Scholar program. To make a donation, you can visit pacific.to/africanamericanscholarfund.
Recipients of the Aquarium of the Pacific’s 2022 African American Scholar Funds:
Moriah Byrd is a graduate student in the University of California, Los Angeles’ Atmospheric and Ocean Sciences Ph.D. program researching DNA tools to measure the biodiversity of an environment. In 2021 Byrd earned a bachelor’s degree in marine science with a minor in applied math from Savannah State University.
Jessica Smith is an undergraduate student at San Jose State University with a major in ecology and evolution and a minor in chemistry. Smith is interested in the therapeutic and medicinal potential of plants and plans to pursue a Ph.D. in molecular and environmental plant sciences. Smith is currently part of the Research Initiative for Scientific Enhancement program for undergraduate students in biomedical sciences.
Nefertiti Smith Christman is a third-year Ph.D. student in the ecology and evolutionary biology department at the University of California, Irvine, studying the impact of stressors, including sediment, on zebrafish. Christman has a bachelor’s degree in marine and environmental science from Hampton University.
African American Scholar Program Committee Members:
- Ryan Ashton, vice president of development, Aquarium of the Pacific
- Anthony Brown, CFO, Aquarium of the Pacific
- Sean Devereaux, executive director, Leadership Long Beach
- Keasha Dumas Heath, executive director, LA Afro American Art Museum
- Alyssa Pacaut, senior manager of membership, Aquarium of the Pacific
- Naomi Rainey, committee advisor/president, Long Beach NAACP
- Steve Young, principal, Keesal, Young, and Logan and Aquarium board director