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Keeping Up With ARCS Scholars – In Their Own Words
Kimberly Barnholt, 2007-2008 ARCS Scholar
"I have always wanted to be a scientist. Well, except in pre-school when I wore a tutu day and night with visions of becoming the next prima ballerina. Beyond that brief phase, I found that many of my life experiences fueled an interest in science. SeaWorld inspired a desire to become a marine veterinarian. An internship at the Environmental Protection Agency led me to explore environmental science. Finally, my love of running and work with the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society motivated my return to graduate school for doctoral work in cardiovascular physiology.
I was selected as an ARCS Scholar during my third, and now into my fourth year of graduate school at UC Davis. The generous support from ARCS Foundation funding has enabled purchase of supplies for my current project investigating early plaque formation in peripheral vascular disease. The ARCS Foundation Scholar Award gives me the opportunity to focus on research free from worry about how the work will be funded. The contribution to research progress that this provides is invaluable and certainly cannot be overstated! ARCS Foundation is also unique in providing more than financial support. The personal element of the ARCS Scholar Award makes it a very special award. I have enjoyed ARCS Foundation’s celebration of research and have appreciated sharing stories with scholars and members at various ARCS Foundation events. To me, ARCS Foundation is an award that facilitates my research progress and an experience that fuels my motivation to continue in the science field."
Allison Luengen, ARCS Scholar Alumna
Postdoctoral Researcher, School of Marine and Atmospheric Sciences Stony Brook University, NY
"If you’ve been to San Francisco Bay recently, you’ve probably noticed the posted fish consumption advisories. One of the reasons that people are warned to limit their consumption of fish from the San Francisco Bay is the high concentrations of mercury that can be found in some fish, particularly large fish at the top of the food chain. Despite the high concentrations of mercury in the fish, little is known about how mercury enters the food chain. The first, and most critical step, is the transfer of mercury from water to phytoplankton, which are the microscopic algae at the base of the marine food chain. My current research focuses on this first step, where phytoplankton can concentrate mercury by up to 100,000 times the levels found in the water.
I’m very excited to have the opportunity to study mercury pollution as a postdoctoral researcher. I am currently collaborating with two different research groups, one at Stony Brook University in New York and the other at the United States Geological Survey in Sacramento. Upon completion of my postdoc, I am planning to apply for academic jobs with a combination of teaching and research.
Getting my current position would not have been possible without the support I received along the way. ARCS Foundation supported me as I finished my M.S. in Marine Sciences at the University of California, Santa Cruz (UCSC). After completing my M.S., I went on to earn a Ph.D. in Environmental Toxicology, also from UCSC. Those were some challenging years for me, and every bit of support that I received helped me finish graduate school.
Now, as a woman in a male-dominated field, I hope that during my career, I can both make important scientific discoveries and also make the field more accessible to women and other underrepresented groups. By funding scientists as they struggle through graduate school, ARCS Foundation has taken a vital step in this direction. I thank ARCS Foundation for the support that I have received and for making it possible for more people to become scientists."