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Computer science student earns nationally competitive Department of Commerce scholarship

Anna Hartenbach and Colleen Carow | May 29, 2018
Sefton Hollings

Computer science student earns nationally competitive Department of Commerce scholarship

Anna Hartenbach and Colleen Carow | May 29, 2018

A Russ College computer science student is one of just 150 students nationwide to have won a nationally competitive National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) scholarship.

Rising junior Seaghan Sefton, an Honors Tutorial College computer science major, won the Ernest F. Hollings undergraduate scholarship, which is designed to increase undergraduate training in oceanic and atmospheric science, and public understanding and support. It will provide her with $9,500 each year for two years, a 10-week, full-time, paid summer internship at any NOAA facility in the U.S., and research presentation funding for two national scientific conferences.

Part of the Department of Commerce, the NOAA is a science-based federal agency with regulatory, operational, and information service responsibilities that reach from the sun to the ocean.

Gordon Stewart, assistant professor in the School of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science (EECS), worked with Sefton on programming languages and computer security research over the last academic year.

“I’m extremely gratified to see her awarded the prestigious NOAA Hollings Scholarship, which will give her the opportunity to work alongside researchers at NOAA,” he said.

This year’s scholars were selected from roughly 600 STEM students representing 100 colleges and universities. Additional Ohio University students have received the scholarship in previous years, including Timothy Murphy, BSCS ’16.

Sefton, who participated during high school in Project Oceanology programs, which offer an inquiry-oriented approach to marine sciences, said she felt the opportunity would enable her to pursue her biological research interests.

“Not only will I be able to directly use this opportunity to diversify my research in my undergraduate career, but it could help me benefit the environment,” she said.

Sefton will attend orientation in Silver Spring, Maryland, this month, to meet peers, NOAA program scientists and learn more about future internships.

David Juedes, chair of the School of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science (EECS), said he believes Sefton is one of the best computer science students to study at OHIO in recent years.

“I truly believe that she has the capacity and potential to contribute to either the computing or engineering disciplines,” he said.