GeoGator Undergrad Ms. Sarah VanSchoick recently became a McNair Scholar. The University of Florida McNair Scholars Program, named in honor of Dr. Ronald E. McNair, supports undergraduate college students from low-income, first-generation and underrepresented backgrounds who intend to pursue graduate studies. During the summer, students participate in an intensive research program and attend weekly workshops on the nature of academic life, standardized test preparation, writing and researching skills, and the graduate school application process. During the academic year fall and spring semesters, they continue working on research, participate in cultural and educational activities, and meet regularly with a graduate student mentor. Students must complete 30 hours of research each week during the summer semester. Sarah has chosen Dr. Matyas to be her faculty research mentor. On April 15, they both attended a banquet to honor past and present McNair Scholars participants.

Geography major Sarah VanSchoick received the honor of best undergraduate poster at the 2018 SEDAAG annual meeting on November 19. Her research involved a geospatial analysis of rain rates produced by 38 tropical cyclones that affected Madagascar and Mozambique since 1998. She found that storms originating over the Southwest Indian Ocean had larger rainfall extents and had higher maximum sustained wind speeds than storms that formed over the Mozambique Channel, which is close to land. This project was sponsored by the National Science Foundation’s IUSE Pathways into Geoscience program under a collaborative grant awarded to Santa Fe College (SFC) (Heidi Lannon, PI) and #UF. This program encourages engagement of diverse students in Geoscience education, research, and outreach. Sarah was a student in the program while attending SFC and selected Dr. Matyas as her research mentor. After matriculating at UF, she continued this research with Dr. Matyas and also helped to mentor this year’s SFC student cohort.