University of Richmond Student Receives Nationally Competitive Scholarship to Further Marine Biology Research

Sophomore Emily Lekas Is 2nd UR Student to Receive Prestigious Award
April 21, 2023

Emily LekasUNIVERSITY OF RICHMOND — Emily Lekas, a University of Richmond sophomore from Jacksonville, Florida, has been named a Hollings Scholar by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Lekas is one of 120 across the country to receive this award.

The NOAA Ernest F. Hollings Scholarship provides scholars with a paid summer internship at a NOAA facility and academic tuition assistance for two years. Lekas will be paired with a mentor whose research aligns with her interests for an internship during the summer of 2024. She will also have an opportunity to present her research at NOAA headquarters in Silver Spring, Maryland, and at two scientific conferences.

“I have always admired the research conducted by NOAA and hope to work in a NOAA lab after attending graduate school,” said Lekas, who is the second UR student to receive the award. “I am honored to have this opportunity to grow as a scientist and am eager to meet the NOAA scientists pioneering research in marine biology.”

Lekas, who is majoring in biology and minoring in chemistry, is studying invertebrate ecology, marine biomedicine, and aquaculture. She plans to pursue a Ph.D. in marine biology. She is currently studying abroad through the School for Field Studies in the Turks and Caicos Islands where she is participating in a directed research project that includes nighttime scuba diving to investigate and film the behavior of octopuses.

University of Richmond biology professors Emily Boone and Kristine Grayson mentor Lekas. She will be a teaching assistant in Boone’s coastal ecology class and plans to further analyze the octopus research from her study abroad program under the mentorship of Grayson in fall 2023. Lekas is a UR presidential scholar and was selected as Mentee of the Year in the Peer and Mentors Program last year.