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  • Kate Munning

2024 Scholarship Winners

THE WINNERS ARE IN! We are very excited to showcase the New Jersey students who have been awarded TLCNJ's six $10,000 scholarships this year. For 40 years our organization has been proudly supporting future environmental leaders who are training for careers protecting our natural resources. The Land Conservancy's scholarship program started in 1983 with the Russell W. Myers Scholarship, followed by the Rogers Family Scholarship in 2005, and has grown exponentially since then.

First up is Nikki Morley, whose love of birds “took flight” while volunteering at the Raptor Trust in 2016. After getting an animal science degree from Lafayette College, Nikki was a planning intern with TLCNJ, then went back to the Raptor Trust to work on avian rehabilitation, helping injured wildlife and raising native baby birds for release into the wild. Now Nikki is working on a master’s in ecology and ecosystems at the University of Vienna, studying how urbanization affects the territory structure and social foraging behavior of crows. Nikki’s ultimate career goal is to work with AZA-accredited zoos doing conservation breeding, handrearing, and reintroduction. Fascinating!

Joseph Brau is a resident of Elizabeth and rising third-year law student at NYU School of Law. This summer, Joseph is working with the Natural Resources Defense Council in Washington, DC to learn more about climate litigation and collaborating with environmental justice community organizations that will serve him well in an environmental law career.

Danielle Dyson is a second-year master's student at Rutgers as well as a second-time winner of a TLCNJ scholarship. We truly admire Danielle’s career as a fisheries biologist with the NJDEP that’s been shaped by her childhood at the Jersey Shore. Danielle says, “I have spent many summers tagging protected shark species in New Jersey backbays and then tracking them with our acoustic receivers (almost like an EZ Pass system for sharks!) so that we can better protect them and their essential habitat. I hope to start a tagging program at the NJDEP so we can better manage vital marine species and protect them from extinction and exploitation. I aim to work towards a PhD so I can become an adjunct professor, continuing my research with the NJDEP while teaching and inspiring future generations of scientists.”

Samantha Pasciullo Boychuck is a master’s student at Duke University’s Nicholas School of the Environment, where she studies environmental management, focusing on economics and policy as well as terrestrial and freshwater ecosystems. Samantha’s research ranges from studying the impact of forest density on tick populations to comparing the gut microbiomes of Channel Island foxes and spotted skunks. She’s working on a GIS certificate, assists with Clean Air Act permitting for the NJDEP, and ultimately wants to help governments and private companies achieve environmental goals while also balancing profit and growth.

Jennalie Lutes from Middlesex is studying for a master’s at Florida Atlantic University in environmental science. She is the lead technician for the Lake Okeechobee annual wading bird monitoring project, which involves monthly aerial surveys, corresponding ground surveys, and nest monitoring. Her thesis is evaluating the diets of wading birds. Jennalie is working towards becoming a biologist/ecologist who incorporates research and community-based approaches into the conservation and management of natural resources and wildlife.

And finally, Zoe Byham is a recent graduate of Rutgers University with a degree in environmental policy, institutions, and behaviors and minor in political science. Zoe is continuing her education at the University of Cambridge this fall, completing her master’s in philosophy and environmental policy. At Rutgers, Zoe was a climate leader on campus, serving as president and co-founder of Climate Reality RU and a research intern and student representative for the Rutgers Office of Climate Action. Zoe is passionate about climate action and is determined to pursue meaningful change within the public sector. And she’s on the right track, having interned for the White House Climate Policy Office, Senator Cory Booker, and the sustainability team at the U.S. Department of Transportation. 

We can't get enough of these stories about ambitious young people making their home state of New Jersey a better place!

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