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My name is Heather Bruck, I am a doctoral student at the University of North Carolina – Chapel Hill. I recently graduated from the University of South Carolina with a B.S. in Biology (clearly I love the Carolinas) and am excited to start my graduate studies in the fall. On this site you’ll find research I have been involved with, some photos and videos, and a blog I posted while studying at the University of the Virgin Islands in the spring of 2022. There is also a page for applying to the NOAA Ernest F. Hollings Scholarship with some tips for anyone interested in applying. If you would like to learn more or just chat, please don’t hesitate to reach out!

Recent Updates

April 27, 2023 – I presented my research at Benthic Ecology in Miami, FL. It was such a fun conference filled with intriguing talks and delicious food. I presented on my NOAA Hollings Internship and my USC Honors Thesis, all rolled into one poster. I look forward to going to Benthic Ecology next year!

March 29, 2023 – I am fortunate to be named an Honorable Mention for the National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship! It was a long process of writing and revising essays, and it gave me the chance to reflect on all of my experiences at USC. I will be re-applying next year to (hopefully) receive funding for graduate school for 3 years.

December 21, 2022 – The manuscript I co-authored has been published! Check out “Nitrous oxide production and isotopomer composition by fungi isolated from salt marsh sediments” in Frontiers in Marine Science here. This is my first ever co-authorship of published work, so it is incredibly exciting to see the start of my future career take shape.

December 1, 2022 – My Hollings internship was highlighted by NOAA’s Office of Education! I created a digital watercolor painting of my study organism, the Caribbean spiny lobster, that was shared on NOAA’s webpage along with a description of my work. During my graduate studies and beyond, I’d like to continue using art to communicate my research through visual arts and encourage public engagement with marine sciences. If you would like to read the article or check out the artwork, click here.

The digital watercolor painting of a Caribbean spiny lobster I created at the conclusion of my Hollings internship.

November 16 & 18, 2022 – I initiated, organized, and led an outreach event with SEAS (Students Engaged in Aquatic Sciences) members and Dutch Fork Elementary Academy of Environmental Sciences. I have been training two students to become the next Education Outreach Coordinators for SEAS, and they were a big help with the outreach event. We spoke with four different 5th grade classes, discussing climate change and human impacts on the marine ecosystem. We dove deeper into oil spills and did a hands-on mock oil spill activity where the 5th graders explored various clean-up methods and observed how chemical dispersants can be used for oil clean-up.

SEAS members engaging with 5th graders during our mock oil-spill activity.

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