Link Foundation Fellowships Newsletter

Inside this Issue


Meet this Year's Fellowship Recipients


Dr. Jennifer Sneed, Smithsonian Marine Station Link Fellow 2009, is currently a staff biologist at the Smithsonian Marine Station (SMS) in Fort Pierce, FL

Jennifer SneedPictured above:  Dr. Jennifer Sneed during coral spawning in Belize

Jennifer was first introduced to the Smithsonian Marine Station when she was awarded a Link Fellowship to complete a portion of her PhD research at SMS in 2009. Jennifer completed her PhD at the Friederich Schiller University in Jena, Germany studying microbial communities associated with tropical green algae. She examined the chemical signals that algae produce to structure microbial communities that live on their surfaces. A portion of this work required collection and experimentation in Florida that was made possible by the Link Fellowship.  After she graduated in 2010, Jennifer returned to SMS as a postdoctoral fellow studying how bacteria associated with red algae help corals find a place to settle on the reef. In 2012, Jennifer was hired as a full time staff biologist at SMS and continues to investigate the ways that bacteria are involved in coral reef ecology.

The Link Fellowship was critical in providing support for Jennifer to complete her PhD research and led to the formation of many successful research collaborations. Through connections made at SMS, Jennifer has been able to work with some of the world’s leading coral reef microbiologists and ecologists.



Andrew ClarkDr. Andrew M. Clark- Trustee, Link Foundation Board, and 1979 Summer Intern at Harbor Branch, he chairs the Link Foundation’s Fellowship Program in Ocean Engineering and Instrumentation.  He is a licensed Professional Engineer (PE), holds both US and International Patents for underwater vehicle systems, and has authored or coauthored over 50 technical and scientific publications.  Dr. Clark, a Fellow of the Marine Technology Society, was elected President of that international organization in 1998 and currently serves as Vice President for Research, Industry and Technology.  He received the Lockheed Martin Medal for Ocean Science and Technology in 2003, and the Compass – Rolex Distinguished Achievement Award in 2007.  Dr. Clark is a Trustee of Florida Institute of Technology and serves on the US Committee to the United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission (IOC).

While earning a BS in Ocean Engineering from Florida Atlantic University (FAU) in 1979, Dr. Clark received a Link Foundation Intern scholarship which provided the opportunity for him to spend a summer working at Harbor Branch Foundation (now known as Harbor Branch Oceanographic Institute at Florida Atlantic University). 

It was during the summer as a Link Foundation Intern at Harbor Branch that Dr. Clark made both lifelong professional contacts and friendships.  More importantly, however, Dr. Clark credits this time where he first witnessed the tremendous and powerful force created through, as he states, “the total immersion of scientists and engineers working together, solving problems and making discoveries in an unfettered, creative environment,” which set the path for his professional life.

After Dr. Clark’s graduation from FAU, he found himself drawn back to an entry level job at Harbor Branch.  There, he worked his way up through the ranks to eventually become Director of Engineering.  Since Dr. Clark’s time at Harbor Branch, he has held several leadership positions in both government and industry and has founded three successful companies all which are still operating profitably today.  These companies were established on the same ethic of fostering a creative nexus of science and technology, which he learned while an Intern at Harbor Branch.  Dr. Clark continues to collaborate with his colleagues at Harbor Branch Oceanographic Institute at Florida Atlantic University to this day.

In 1999, Dr. Clark was appointed as a Special Advisor to the Link Foundation Board of Trustees, and in 2005 he became a Trustee of the Link Foundation.  Dr. Clark holds BS and MS degrees in Ocean Engineering from Florida Atlantic University, and a PhD in Ocean Engineering from the University of Hawaii.

Dr. Clark recently stated, “A few years ago, I was bestowed with what I consider one of the most important professional responsibilities, and by far the most rewarding, namely being elected Trustee to the Board of the Link Foundation.  This now affords me the opportunity to try to provide this same experience to future generations.  I credit the Link Foundation, and particularly Marilyn C. Link, herself, as playing the pivotal role enabling the successes I have enjoyed in my professional life, but more importantly, the satisfaction and enjoyment I’ve experienced in the totality of my life itself.”


Lee LyndDr. Lee R. Lynd - Special Advisor to the Link Foundation Board, Link Foundation Energy Fellowship Program Administrator, 1984 Link Energy Fellow, and he currently serves as the Paul and Joan Queneau Distinguished Professor of Engineering and Adjunct Professor of Biology at Dartmouth College, Director and Chief Scientific Officer of Mascoma Corporation, Focus Area Leader for Biomass Deconstruction and Conversion at the Department of Energy Bioenergy Science Center, Initiator and Executive Committee Coordinator of the Global Sustainable Bioenergy Project, and Professor Extraordinary of Microbiology at the University of Stellenbosch, South Africa.

Dr. Lynd was a Link Foundation Energy Fellow during the first year that Energy Fellowships were offered in 1984.  "The Fellowship came at a time when I did not have support for my graduate work," stated Dr. Lynd.  "Thus for me, the Link Fellowship was an important factor in letting me pursue my vision for a thesis involving cellulosic biofuels."

Dr. Lynd has followed this vision for his entire professional life.  Today he is the Paul and Joan Queneau Distinguished Professor of Engineering and Adjunct Professor of Biology at Dartmouth College, Director and Chief Scientific Officer of Mascoma Corporation, Focus Area Leader for Biomass Deconstruction and Conversion at the Department of Energy Bioenergy Science Center, Initiator and Executive Committee Coordinator of the Global Sustainable Bioenergy Project, and Professor Extraordinary of Microbiology at the University of Stellenbosch, South Africa. 

Dr. Lynd is a leading expert on utilization of plant biomass for production of energy, with distinctively broad contributions spanning the science, technology, and policy domains, including leading research on fundamental and biotechnological aspects of microbial cellulose utilization.  A frequently invited presenter on technical and strategic aspects of biomass energy, Dr. Lynd has three times testified before the United States Senate, and has been featured in prominent fora such as Wired, Forbes, Nova, and the Nobel Conference.

The Link Foundation was among the first to recognize Dr. Lynd, but hardly the last.  Dr. Lynd  is the 2011 recipient of the Mines Medal of the South Dakota School of Mines and Technology for contributions to engineering or science, and prestigious contributions toward resolution or understanding of the technological challenges that impact society, the inaugural recipient of the Lemelson-MIT Sustainability Prize, recipient of the Charles D. Scott Award for distinguished contributions to the field of biotechnology for fuels and chemicals, and two-time recipient of the Charles A. Lindbergh Award in recognition of efforts to promote a balance between environmental preservation and technological advancement.

Commenting on his involvement with the Link Foundation, Dr. Lynd observes, "As Administrator of the Link Foundation’s Energy Fellowship program, I am delighted and honored to be able to play a part in supporting graduate students in the critically important energy field.  I take particular pleasure in knowing that receipt of a Link Fellowship may enable young researchers to pursue their dream as it did for me.  I only wish we could give more fellowships.  These days, we are getting about 100 of the strongest applicants in North America and we only award 3 fellowships, although many more are deserving.  I would be delighted to find ways to bring more funds to this outstanding program."


Donna WIltDr. Donna F. Wilt - Special Advisor to the Link Foundation Board of Trustees, Link Foundation Modeling, Simulation and Training Fellowship Program Administrator, 1995 Link Fellow in Advanced Simulation and Training, and she currently serves as Professor in the College of Aeronautics at Florida Institute of Technology.

Dr. Wilt has a lifelong passion for aviation and engineering.  She was first able to pursue this passion when she worked with aircraft simulators at NASA Langley Research Center while completing a BS in electrical engineering at the University of Florida.  She worked on programs to apply the technology from military and airline simulations to the smaller aircraft used in general aviation operations.  Here she developed a lifelong goal of making flying safer overall, while taking advantage of the safe and less expensive environment of a device that simulates the relevant aspects of the aircraft and environment.

As her career progressed, Dr. Wilt found herself drawn more to the training aspects of aviation as opposed to engineering design.  She eventually become an Air Transport Pilot, Master Certified Flight Instructor, and Gold Seal Flight Instructor focusing on the beginning, or ab-initio, pilot training.  The advent of the personal computer opened new opportunities for creating flight training devices (FTD) that were substantially more capable but less expensive than in the past thereby making it available to a segment of aviation where simulators had previously not been cost effective.

At the time she was ready to pursue a doctorate, there were no PhD programs in the US in aeronautics or flight training so she pursued a PhD in Science Education at Florida Institute of Technology.  Dr. Wilt’s PhD research was on the forefront of how to teach higher-order cognitive skills, such as situation awareness and decision making, to beginning pilots using low-cost FTDs.

Dr. Wilt explained, “the Science Education Department was doing research in computer-based training, but had not done research in the area of flight training.  The Link Foundation’s Advanced Simulation and Training Fellowship gave me the freedom and ability to pursue an area of research that aligned with my passion for aviation and my goal of making aviation safer.”

Dr. Wilt holds a BS degree from the University of Florida, a MS degree in Electrical Engineering and a PhD degree in Science Education from Florida Institute of Technology.

Today, Dr. Wilt is Professor in the College of Aeronautics at Florida Institute of Technology where they offer bachelor, masters, and will soon offer doctorate aviation programs that integrate simulators and advanced flight training devices into the flight training programs and the applied aviation research.  Dr. Wilt also serves as chair of the Society of Aviation and Flight Educators (SAFE) Board of Directors, a position which she was elected to in July 2014.

She served on the Link Foundation’s Advanced Simulation and Training Fellowship Selection Committee prior to becoming the Fellowship Program Administrator in 2012.  She is proud to participate in selecting the newest Modeling, Simulation and Training Fellows.


The Link Foundation is pleased to have made a difference in the lives and careers of many including Dr. Sneed, Dr. Clark, Dr. Lynd, Dr. Wilt and many others who have received Link Foundation Fellowships/Internships/Scholarships over the last sixty-four years.  We count it a privilege to continue our association with them today.

We are proud of all of our Link Fellows/Interns/Scholars and of the vital contributions that they have made, and continue to make, in the advancement of modeling, simulation and training, ocean engineering and instrumentation, and energy resources development and conservation, throughout their careers.  These discoveries are increasingly valuable to the world in which we live and significantly impact the advancement and security of our nation in important ways. 

If you are or were a Link Fellow/Intern/Scholar, we would love to hear from you!  Please write to us!  We would be honored to tell your story on our page!