Project Dragonfly Students Awarded Scholarships
Nine Miami University graduate students in Project Dragonfly’s Advanced Inquiry Program (AIP) and Global Field Program (GFP) were recently awarded scholarships totaling $7,000...
Project Dragonfly Students Awarded Scholarships
About Our 2023 Scholarship Winners
Rosie Bloom Scholarship
AIP graduate student Aaron Ettinger of Cuyahoga Falls, Ohio, and GFP graduate student Andrea Haugen of Cincinnati, Ohio, are the recipients of the Rosie Bloom Scholarship. The scholarship, named for local Audubon Society charter member and nature advocate Rosie Bloom, helps support Earth Expeditions (EE) students who live or work in the Audubon Miami Valley membership area.
Aaron (he/his) is a sixth grade science teacher at Litchfield CLC in Akron, Ohio. Since joining the AIP in 2021, Aaron has taken courses on the web from Miami University while also participating in unique learning experiences on the grounds of Cleveland Metroparks Zoo and in natural settings around northeastern Ohio. This summer Aaron will travel to the Galápagos Islands to study the forces of evolutionary, geologic, and social change through work with ECOS, a newly established local Galápagos organization grounded by its start as a program of Ecology Project International. Through his Master Plan (a kind of personal mission statement for what he wants to accomplish in the program), Aaron would like to explore best practices, strategies and resources for engaging students with nature based education. In his free time, Aaron enjoys hiking and biking in the Cuyahoga Valley National Park, playing music and spending time with friends and family.
Andrea (she/her) is a senior animal trainer and educator in the Cat Ambassador Program at the Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden. In this role over the last six years, she has worked with eleven cheetahs (hand raised two cubs), servals, ocelots, a red river hog, an African crested porcupine, multiple house cats and three cheetah companion dogs. She does educational programs with these animals ranging from cheetah runs, scripted experiences, traveling to schools, special appearances, news/media programs etc. She was featured on programs such as the Disney+ show, “It’s a Dog’s Life” and has been interviewed by Cincinnati Magazine, Inside Edition and the Cincinnati Zoo’s podcast, Zoo Tales. She graduated from the University of Michigan with a dual Bachelor’s degree in Human-Animal Studies and Environmental Science. She spent her summers in college volunteering at wildlife rehabilitation and research centers in Thailand, China and South Africa. She is currently a masters student at Miami University studying conservation biology and through this program has worked to study the importance of ambassador animals like cheetahs in educating the public about cheetah conservation. Since joining the GFP in 2020, Andie has traveled to Namibia to study the frontline conservation strategies of the Cheetah Conservation Fund (CCF) in partnering with local communities to save wildlife. This summer Andie will travel to Australia, where she will dive into the conservation and education opportunities of the Great Barrier Reef, the global center of marine biodiversity.
Dragonfly’s Inquiry, Community, Voice Scholarship
AIP graduate students Danielle Bradford of Cleveland, Ohio, Kim Dewey of Eatonville, Washington, CJ Greco of Chicago, Illinois, and Stephanie Scimeca of Bronx, New York, are the recipients of Dragonfly’s Inquiry, Community, Voice Scholarship. Created in 2021, the Dragonfly scholarship supports Dragonfly students who are committed to furthering the fields of inclusion, diversity, environmental justice, and other related fields using innovative and relevant approaches to conservation.
Danielle (she/her) works as an administrative assistant for Cuyahoga County. Since joining the AIP in 2022, Danielle has taken courses on the web from Miami University while also participating in experiential learning on the grounds of Cleveland Metroparks Zoo and in and around northeastern Ohio. This summer Danielle will participate in an ecophysiology-biomimicry course and explore the ways in which humans emulate systems and designs found in nature. Danielle’s Master Plan focuses on using urban restoration ecology and plans to promote ecologically conscious urban planning as a way to support regional ecosystems. This would involve dedicating city parks to environmentally productive uses (hosting native plants and wildlife), campaigning for rewilding efforts, and implementing green infrastructure in cities. Outside of her studies, she enjoys baking, hiking, exploring new foods, and nit-picking movies and TV with my fiancé and their super-senior cat.
Kim (she/her) was a formal secondary science educator for 15 years. She is transitioning her talents towards projects that are dedicated to promoting social and environmental justice. Since joining the AIP in 2022, Kim has taken courses on the web from Miami University while also participating in experiential learning on the grounds of the Woodland Park Zoo, Point Defiance Zoo, and Nisqually National Wildlife Refuge. This summer Kim will work to build strong partnerships with her local tribal community, professionals and community leaders on projects that directly contribute in specific ways to her Master Plan.
CJ (they/she) works as a student and teacher programs facilitator at Lincoln Park Zoo. Since joining the AIP in 2022, CJ has taken courses on the web from Miami University while also participating in unique learning experiences on the grounds of Chicago’s Brookfield Zoo and in natural settings around northeastern Illinois. This summer CJ will experience the full process of inquiry and learn how to guide this process with their own students and in their own communities.
Stephanie (she/her) works as a teacher for The Young Women's Leadership School of the Bronx. Since joining the AIP in 2020, Stephanie has taken courses on the web from Miami University while also participating in experiential learning on the grounds of Wildlife Conservation Society’s Bronx Zoo and in natural settings around New York. This summer Stephanie will investigate environmental stewardship, research science, and conservation opportunities and solutions in her local communities and develop a community-based conservation project. Stehanie’s research interests center around the healing aspects of nature — how nature can be utilized to bring emotional, physical and social healing to all sorts of people, and how people can heal nature in the process. She is also interested in further exploring accessibility of nature to people who are members of the disability and LGBTQIA+ communities. In her free time, Stephanie spends as much time as possible outdoors; she loves kayaking, hiking and skiing, and just finding a cozy spot under a tree to read.
José Pareja-Wendy Tori Scholarship
GFP graduate students Willy Herrera of Las Vegas, Nevada, and Maria Pirner of Oakland, California, are the recipients of the José Pareja-Wendy Tori Scholarship. José I. and Wendy, who are natives of Peru, were a part of the Dragonfly team at its inception in 2008, and they are currently both faculty members at Earlham College.
Willy (he/his) is a biology teacher in Las Vegas. Since joining the GFP in 2019, he has investigated coral reefs, manatees, howler monkeys, jaguars, and other wildlife in Belize and participated in an online course with conservationists from around the world to launch a conservation campaign for positive ecological and social change. This summer Willy will travel to the Galápagos Islands to study the forces of evolutionary, geologic, and social change through work with ECOS, a newly established local Galápagos organization grounded by its start as a program of Ecology Project International. His research interest is on wildlife and conservation of native trees. For his first inquiry action project, which was focused on the impact of ecotourism on whale sharks, he traveled to the Philippines to study at a whale shark provisioning ecotourism site. His Master Plan is focused on environmental education – informing and engaging the community on the conservation of endangered Philippine native trees. In his free time, Willy enjoys hiking around Red Rock Canyon.
Maria (she/her) works as a teacher and science teacher leader for the Oakland Unified School District. Maria is also a lead for the district’s Science, Technology, Engineering, the Arts and Mathematics (STEAM) program. Since joining the GFP in 2021, Maria has studied island biogeography and whale sharks in Baja, Mexico. This summer Maria will travel to Costa Rica to study ecology and ecotourism. Maria is focusing her graduate studies on the interconnectedness of biogeochemical and societal impacts on whale health, migratory patterns, and conservation. A large piece of this research is identifying meaningful pathways for Black, Indigenous, and people of color (BIPOC) youth to engage, identify with, and enter the field of marine STEM to more fully represent the needs of our communities and the waters around us in hopes of achieving true ocean justice.
Carrie R. Wilson Memorial Scholarship
GFP graduate student Valeria Hernandez of Houston, Texas, is the recipient of the Carrie R. Wilson Memorial Scholarship. Pelecanus Inc., a non-profit organization co-founded by AIP graduate Austin Parker and his brother Taylor, created this scholarship in 2021 in memory of Carrie Wilson, who served as Dean of Students at the University of San Diego Law School and believed in community inspiration through direct and intentional action.
Valeria (she/her) works as a coffee shop barista. Since joining the GFP in 2020, Valeria has studied golden lion tamarins in Brazil’s Atlantic Forest and participated in an online Dragonfly course with conservationists from around the world to launch a conservation campaign for positive ecological and social change. This summer Valeria will travel to Namibia to study the frontline conservation strategies of the Cheetah Conservation Fund (CCF) in partnering with local communities to save wildlife. Valeria’s research focus has been on environmental justice and the inequity in access to nature for underserved communities. This inspired her to be one of the founders and leaders for the Houston chapter of Latino Outdoors, which aims to engage, connect and inspire Latino communities in the outdoors. In her free time she enjoys riding her bike, walking her dogs and watching movies.
Since 2009, Dragonfly graduate students have received more than $62,000 in scholarship funds. If you are interested in learning more about these scholarship opportunities, please visit the Dragonfly Scholarships webpage. If you are interested in becoming a scholarship donor, please contact Jill Korach at email@example.com or contribute to our ongoing Dragonfly scholarship here.