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Student and Alumni: Award Winners

By Diana Udel

Student and Alumni: Award Winners

By Diana Udel

UM Rosenstiel School Awards

Honghai Zhang is the recipient of the Frank J. Millero Prize. In honor of long-serving Rosenstiel School Associate Dean for Academic Affairs Frank Millero, the Millero Prize is awarded annually to a Rosenstiel School Ph.D. student whose single or first-authored peer-reviewed publication is original and significant enough to merit special recognition (best student publication). Zhang was awarded the prize for the 2013 paper, titled ‘South Pacific Meridional Mode: A Mechanism for ENSO-like Variability,’ published in the Journal of Climate.

Robert Letscher, Postdoctorate researcher at the University of California, Irvine is the recipient of the F.G. Walton Smith Prize for his research of “Controls on dissolved organic matter distribution and fate in the ocean.”

MPO graduate Falko Judt and MBF graduate student Andrew Kempsell are the most recent recipients of the Koczy Prize. In honor of the late Dr. Fritz Koczy, this prize is intended to provide support for a doctoral candidate in his/her final year.

Judt joined the UM Rosenstiel School as an undergrad in meteorology in 2006 and as a MPO grad student in 2008. He is currently a PhD student in MPO under Shuyi Chen and serves as president of the local Chapter of the American Meteorological Society.  Kempsell received his B.S. in biology in 2009 from the University of California, Los Angeles and is currently a Ph.D. candidate studying aging-related changes in the nervous system of Aplysia californica under Lynne Fieber.

MPO graduate student Elizabeth Wong received the Dean’s Prize in recognition of her achievement at the master’s level for the outstanding thesis in marine and atmospheric science. Wong is currently a Ph.D. student in MPO with Peter Minnett studying “Retrieval of the Skin Sea Surface Temperature Using Hyperspectral Measurements From the Marine-Atmospheric Emitted Radiance Interferometer.”

Alumni Awards

UM Rosenstiel School Alumnus Douglas G. Capone is the winner of the 2014 DuPont Industrial Biosciences Award in Applied and Environmental Microbiology from the American Society for Microbiology for his outstanding accomplishments as a marine microbiologist. Capone received his Ph.D. from the UM Rosenstiel School in 1978 and is currently a faculty member at the University of Southern California, Los Angeles.

“His contributions to our understanding of the factors controlling biological nitrogen fixation in the oceans have strongly influenced numerous researchers and the development of important ideas in biogeochemistry and biological oceanography,” says Bess Ward, Princeton University.

His research focuses on the importance of marine microbes in major biogeochemical cycles, particularly those of nitrogen and carbon, with particular reference to physical, chemical, and biotic controls on key microbial processes. He is a leading expert on the marine N cycle and has produced two highly regarded edited volumes on the topic. Capone has studied diverse ecosystems at remote field stations and on over 30 oceanographic expeditions. He has also made a major contribution to the development of human resources in oceanography and environmental science by mentoring students of all levels.