Rising Junior Charlotte Dungan Earns University’s First-Ever Hollings Scholarship

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Charlotte Dungan

MACON – Rising junior Charlotte Dungan was recently selected as Mercer University’s first-ever recipient of the Ernest F. Hollings Undergraduate Scholarship from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).

The Hollings Scholarship Program is designed to increase undergraduate training in oceanic and atmospheric science, research and technology. Each year, it provides 120 undergraduate applicants with academic assistance up to $9,500 per year for two years of full-time study. It also guarantees a 10-week summer internship at a NOAA facility.

Between the first and second years of the award, the scholarship provides hands-on, practical experience in NOAA-related science, research, technology, policy, management and education activities.

Awards also include travel funds to attend a mandatory NOAA Scholarship Program orientation and the annual Science and Education Symposium, scientific conferences where students present their research and a housing subsidy for scholars who do not reside at home during the summer internship.

“Charlotte is an outstanding student and excellent example of what Mercer is about – from her work in the classroom​ to her extracurricular activities on campus, to her important roles in both local and international research and service,” said Dr. Michael MacCarthy, assistant professor of environmental engineering. “The Hollings Scholarship offers Charlotte an excellent opportunity to continue to pursue her passion in environmental engineering laboratory and field research.”

Dungan, from Marietta, is an environmental engineering major with minors in chemistry and engineering for development. She plans to obtain a Ph.D. in environmental engineering and conduct research in a national laboratory on mountain hydrology or waste management.

Since coming to Mercer, Dungan has participated in research on graywater reuse for irrigation, designing particulate air quality sensors, and mountain hydrology. She recently traveled with Mercer On Mission to the Dominican Republic to continue mountain hydrology research. As the water quality lead for the research team, she visited spring sources in the mountains of El Cercado, Dominican Republic, and performed water quality tests.

This summer, she will conduct research at Stanford University through the ReNUWIt (Re-Inventing the Nation’s Urban Water Infrastructure) program and the National Science Foundation’s Research Experience for Undergraduates program. This research will involve conducting laboratory experiments toward determining methods to optimize and achieve viable degradation of metal-EDTA chelates in reverse osmosis brine from potable reuse. She will also be involved in field measurements of a pilot-scale ozone-wetland treatment system in Santa Clara, California.

“Receiving this award has been a reminder that hard work pays off. Being a Hollings Scholar will provide me with networking and research opportunities that will help me grow as an engineer,” said Dungan. “I am so grateful to the professional faculty at Mercer, especially Dr. Michael MacCarthy, Dr. Andre Butler, Dr. Phil McCreanor and Dr. David Davis, for supporting me through the application process and making this award obtainable.”

Dungan is a resident assistant and member of Catholic Campus Ministries and Phi Eta Sigma honor society. She has earned both President’s List and Dean’s List recognition, and enjoys playing intramural indoor and sand volleyball.

Over his long career in state and federal politics, Senator Ernest “Fritz” Hollings of South Carolina was a champion for ocean policy and conservation. When he retired in 2005, the Ernest F. Hollings Scholarship was established in his honor to bolster undergraduate training in NOAA mission sciences, as well as increase environmental literacy. For more information, visit noaa.gov/office-education/hollings-scholarship.

Kyle Sears
Kyle is the director of media relations at Mercer. In addition to being the primary media contact for most academic and administrative units of the university, he coordinates hometown and university news releases and serves as editor of the News@Mercer e-newsletter and Reach magazine.​