Student Endowment Fund Presentation and Travel Award Applications

The National Shellfisheries Association Student Endowment Fund (SEF) was established in 1989 to maintain and expand the participation of students in the Association. Contributions for the Fund are tax-deductible and are used to defray the costs associated with presenting oral and poster presentations at the Annual Meeting. An appointed committee reviews student applications and makes recommendations for disbursement of funds.

Students attending annual meetings are invited to apply for SEF travel and/or presentation awards. To be eligible for an award, students must:

  • Be current members of the NSA at the time of abstract submission
  • Present their original research and be the first author of the presentation

Recent graduates may also apply, if they 1) present research gathered while a student and are 2) within one year of receiving their degree. Please note that incomplete applications will not receive consideration.

Presentation Awards

The Thurlow C. Nelson Awards are given for outstanding oral presentations of original research. The award is named after the distinguished shellfish biologist who served as NSA President from 1931 to 1933, and contributed more than 125 papers, many relating to oyster biology. The Nelson award includes a certificate of accomplishment and two years of memberships in NSA.

The Gordon Gunter Awards are given for outstanding poster presentations of original research. The award includes a certificate of accomplishment and membership for two years in the Association.

Judging criteria for oral and poster presentations can be found HERE.

Only graduate students, presenting research conducted during their graduate research tenure, are eligible for this competition.  Each eligible student can submit one oral presentation and one poster presentation to the judging process.

In order to apply for presentation awards:

  • Submit your abstract for the annual meeting at by the submission deadline. 
  • During abstract submission, identify yourself as a student who would like to have their presentation judged.  If you are giving more than one presentation, only do this for the presentation you would like judged.
  • During abstract submission, also identify which research categories best reflect your work.

That’s it!  During the meeting your presentations will be scored by multiple volunteer judges.  Award winners will be notified directly after the meeting once scores have been compiled.  Award winners will also be identified in the NSA newsletter and on the website.

Student Travel Awards

Each year the SEF is able to grant a limited number of travel awards in the form of shared lodging or registration waivers to exceptional students who will be presenting their original research at the annual meeting.  Travel awards are competitive and based on the quality of research (abstract) as well as applicant qualification and financial need (cover letter and recommendation letter).  Both, undergraduate and graduate students are eligible to apply for travel awards.

Travel award recipients will be expected to help with NSA needs for at least a half-day at the meeting (e.g., staffing the sales booth, operating A/V equipment).

Travel award applications consist of four items:

A completed travel award application (PDF or Word).
A cover letter explaining why you should be considered for travel assistance.
A letter of recommendation from your advisor or other faculty member.
A copy of your abstract.

The travel award application deadline is December 1st, annually (November 1 during Triennial meeting years - 2019, 2022, 2025, 2028)

Email your application documents to Melissa Southworth ([email protected]). Letters of recommendation can either be attached to your application or sent directly from your advisor. You will receive email confirmation that your application has been received, if you don’t get confirmation within a couple days, please follow up!

For questions about presentation awards, travel awards or anything else SEF-related, please feel free to contact any of the SEF co-chairs.

LeRoy Creswell ([email protected]; 772.834.9062)
Peter Kingsley-Smith ([email protected]; 843.953.9840)

Melissa Southworth ([email protected]; 804.684.7821)