Link Foundation Fellowships Newsletter

Inside this Issue


Meet this Year's Fellowship Recipients

We Proudly Introduce The Link Foundation/Smithsonian Graduate Research Fellowship Awardees For 2012-2013


Name: Kevin Olsen
School: University of North Florida
Project: The Combined Effects of Elevated Temperature and Cyanobacterial-Based Allelopathy on the Early Life History Stages of Scleractinian Corals
Research Advisor: V. Paul

Kevin is working on his Masters in Biology at the University of North Florida (UNF) with former SMS Postdoctoral Fellow, Dr. Cliff Ross, now an Associate Professor at UNF.   He is studying the effects of environmental stressors on coral recruitment and the competition between benthic algae and stony corals.



Name: Megan Riley
School: University of South Carolina
Project: Impact of Multiple Stressors on Trophic Behavior of Aratus pisonii and Implications for Community Dynamics
Research Advisor: I. Feller

Megan is a second year PhD student in Biological Sciences at the University of South Carolina. Her research at SMS involved investigating the role of mangrove tree crabs, Aratus pisonii, in the mangrove food web, as well as how their diet affects their physiological and reproductive health.



Name: L. Holly Sweat
School: Florida Institute of Technology
Project: The Link Between Biofilms and Invasive Species
Research Advisor: V. Paul

Holly is not a new face at SMS.  She was previously part of the Smithsonian Marine Ecosystems Exhibit husbandry staff, working as a Marine Technician until 2007 when she left to pursue her Master’s degree at Florida Institute of Technology (FIT). She is currently working on a PhD in Biological Oceanography at FIT, studying the link between biofilms and invasive species.


2012-13 Link Foundation/Smithsonia Graduate Research Fellows

2012-13 Link Foundation/Smithsonian Graduate Research Fellows
Shown from left to right:  Marilyn C. Link, Special Advisor to the Link Foundation Board; Dr. Mary E. Rice, Senior Research Scientist Emeritus at Smithsonian; Megan Riley, 2012 Smithsonian Fellow; Kevin Olsen, 2012 Smithsonian Fellow; Jimmie Anne Haisley, Trustee and Secretary to the Link Foundation Board; Dr. Valerie Paul, Head Scientist at Smithsonian



The Smithsonian Marine Station (SMS) has a long history of supporting the academic pursuits of students at all levels of education. One of the most successful programs is the 12-week Graduate Student Fellowship program, supported by a grant from the Link Foundation.

The association between the Smithsonian and the Link Foundation extends back to 1953, soon after the Foundation was established by Edwin A. and Marion C. Link. Mr. Link was a skilled aviator and is recognized as a mechanical genius. He is best known for his invention of the first Flight Simulator in 1929, and he later shifted his interest to ocean engineering and marine science and developed the Johnson-Sea-Link submersibles. 

The Link Foundation aims to support individuals and nonprofit institutions with research goals and interests that align with those of the founders, namely advanced simulation and training, ocean engineering and instrumentation, and energy resources conservation and development.

The SMS at Fort Pierce, FL, received its first award from the Link Foundation in 1998 in support of graduate student fellowships in the marine sciences.  Annual awards from 1998-2012 have totaled $208,500, and have supported 50 graduate students. 

The Link Foundation/Smithsonian Institution graduate student fellowships are offered on a competitive basis through the Smithsonian Institution’s Office of Fellowships, and supports the research efforts of three to four graduate-level students each year.  During the 12-week program, Fellows work in association with members of the Smithsonian professional research staff who are either Marine Station investigators, or marine scientists from other Smithsonian entities who carry out a part of their research at the Station.  Students are provided with work space at the station, full access to all the Station’s resources, as well as the guidance and expertise of their appointed advisor during their fellowship.   

Several Link Fellows have gone on to complete doctoral degrees and have returned to SMS as postdoctoral fellows. Others maintain a relationship by continuing to collaborate with SMS researchers or by bringing students of their own.

The staff of SMS looks forward to continuing to provide research opportunities to students through on-going support from the Link Foundation. Graduate students interested in the program should visit  for information on application requirements. The deadline for the 2013 cycle is February 15, 2013.