She idolized the Little Mermaid while growing up in Chadds Ford, dipped her toes in life science at Kennett High School, and “grew her own tail” studying oceanography at the University of Rhode Island.
Now, with a $196,000, four-year scholarship, graduate student Anna Robuck is fully ready to explore the expansive ocean.
Robuck was one of three elite winners in the Dr. Nancy Foster Scholarship Program offered through the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Office of National Marine Sanctuaries, according to a URI announcement.
“This is an incredible honor,” Robuck said. “I’m elated. This scholarship allows me to pursue a lifelong passion — preserving the ocean I love and its amazing creatures.”
Robuck’s scholarship will provide her access to NOAA research facilities, and it enables her to study Great Shearwater birds to discover how water-repellant and flame-retardant chemicals are contaminating large swaths of the offshore ecosystem.
“I don’t think we’ve even scratched the surface of understanding how important it is to have clean water,” Robuck said. “These chemical pollutants are invisible, so it’s kind of out of sight, out of mind. That’s a risky attitude. We need to pay attention to what we’re putting in our water. These chemicals can be very harmful.”
Read more about Robuck’s research and her scholarship award on the URI website here.