Two Virginia Tech students have been awarded Ernest F. Hollings Scholarships by the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration.

Christopher Gerlach, from Alexandria, Virginia, is a sophomore double majoring in meteorology and geography in the College of Natural Resources and Environment. Gina Li, from Herndon, Virginia, is a sophomore double majoring in geography in the College of Natural Resources and Environment and computer science in the College of Engineering. Each received a two-year scholarship and a 10-week summer internship position at a NOAA facility.

Gerlach looks forward to the internship, which will take place in summer 2016. “I would like to pursue an opportunity in the study of severe convective weather, particularly one focused on the application of terrestrial and satellite remote sensing or sounding observation to weather prediction,” said Gerlach, whose future plans include graduate school followed by work at a research facility such as the National Severe Storms Laboratory or the Center for Severe Weather Research.

Li also plans on attending graduate school, in a technical field such as geographic information systems (GIS) or computer science. For her internship, she said, “I would love to study urban areas using GIS and remote sensing and build useful mobile or Web applications that would aid in crowdsourcing data or contribute to open source information. I want to be able to use my passion and knowledge, as part of my geography major, and build useful tools, as part of my computer science major, so that people may access and share information alike.”

Both students are appreciative of being recognized with this award.

“I’d really like to thank the geography department professors and instructors, and my superb adviser, Maureen Deisinger, for all their instruction and guidance helping me along the way,” Gerlach said. “Without each of their contributions to my continuing academic development, I might never have qualified for this award.”

“I was really surprised and excited to be a recipient for this wonderful scholarship,” Li added. “I encourage anyone who has an interest in NOAA’s mission to apply, as NOAA is a fantastic agency and could potentially open many doors for you.”

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