KINGSTON, R.I. -- Three sophomores at the University of Rhode Island have been awarded the Ernest F. Hollings Scholarship from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, one of the most prestigious scholarships for those studying the marine sciences.

This year's recipients are marine biology majors Emily Bishop of Groton, Mass., Katharine Egan of Milford, Penn., and Nicole Marone of Howell, N.J., who also majors in ocean engineering.

The award provides the students with a total of $16,000 toward tuition in their junior and seniors years at URI plus a paid summer internship at a NOAA lab anywhere in the country. From Groton, Emily Bishop has had a lifelong passion for marine life and environmental advocacy, but her first two years at URI also sparked an interest in algae and marine plants. She has received two grants to conduct research on these topics, and she looks forward to continuing her research next fall while spending the semester aboard a sailing ship as part of the SEA Semester program.

"I have really enjoyed the scientific community that is present at URI," said Bishop. "I love learning about the research other people are conducting here, and everyone is always willing to help me with my research questions."