MACON – Mercer University rising junior Pierce Mastrion was awarded the prestigious Ernest F. Hollings Undergraduate Scholarship by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). Mastrion is the institution’s third Hollings Scholar in four years.

The Hollings Scholarship Program is designed to increase undergraduate training in oceanic and atmospheric science, research and technology. This year, it provided 125 undergraduate applicants with academic assistance up to $9,500 per year for two years of full-time study. The scholarship also includes paid summer internship opportunities and funding to participate in two national scientific conferences.

“Pierce’s interests and experiences in engineering and science research, combined with his leadership skills and passion for service, make him an excellent selection for this program,” said Dr. Michael MacCarthy, associate professor of environmental and civil engineering and director of the engineering for development program. “The Hollings Scholarship offers him a great opportunity to further develop his career in sustainable development.”

This year, 721 applications were submitted for NOAA’s two competitive undergraduate scholarships – the Hollings Scholarship and the José E. Serrano Educational Partnership Program with Minority Serving Institutions Scholarship. Selected applicants of both scholarship programs come from a total of 88 different campuses in 39 U.S. states, Washington, D.C., and Puerto Rico.

“We are excited to welcome the highly qualified class of 2021 scholars,” said Louisa Koch, director of NOAA education. “We are impressed by their eagerness and delighted to welcome them to the NOAA team. We congratulate them on being selected as scholars in these prestigious undergraduate programs. In 2020, we successfully adapted our internships in response to COVID-19, and we look forward to building upon that success in 2021.”

Mastrion, from Atlanta, is a civil engineering major with a minor in engineering for development. He plans to pursue a career promoting sustainable development, conservation and ministry work within global communities.

At Mercer, Mastrion is involved in research with Dr. MacCarthy through the Cecil Day Family Center for International Groundwater Innovation, established in June 2020 to accelerate the University’s efforts to improve access to clean water to the world’s most water-poor communities. His research focuses on the design and testing of low-cost groundwater monitoring systems. This research is aimed at increasing knowledge and advancement of low-cost and sustainable drinking water systems.

Mastrion serves as a resident assistant, university admissions representative and is an active member of Reformed University Fellowship. He has been recognized on the President’s List and is a member of the Engineering Track of the University Honors Program.

“I am truly grateful for the care and support that I have received as a student at Mercer. I would like to thank Dr. Michael MacCarthy and Dr. André Butler for supporting me during the application process and making this award attainable,” said Mastrion. “I am looking forward to the personal growth and valuable academic and research experiences that I will receive as a Hollings Scholar and, most importantly, the direction that God is leading me with this opportunity.”

Over his long career in state and federal politics, Sen. 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.

About the School of Engineering

Mercer University’s School of Engineering, founded in 1985, offers innovative and academically challenging programs that provide students with a comprehensive education, featuring a solid foundation in mathematics and sciences, a core engineering curriculum, a range of courses in engineering specialties and a strong emphasis on communication technologies. The School is consistently ranked by U.S. News & World Report as one of the top three master’s-degree-level engineering schools in the Southeast. Known for its breadth of instruction in its undergraduate program and its five-year joint bachelor’s and master’s degree program, the School combines technical education with hands-on laboratory experience. Mercer engineers can look forward to joining fellow alumni in companies such as Robins Air Force Base, Mercer Engineering Research Center, Northrop Grumman, Georgia Power, Manhattan Associates and Gulfstream Aerospace.

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.​