$2500 Student Opportunity: Apply for the 2020 Vembu Subramanian Ocean Scholars Award

Apply today for the Vembu Subramanian Ocean Scholars award! Do not miss the opportunity to receive $2500 in travel support to present your research at a conference. Proposals are due May 15, 2020 (extended).

Click here for proposal announcement.

February 5, 2020

Apply today for the Vembu Subramanian Ocean Scholars award! Do not miss the opportunity to receive $2500 in travel support to present your research at a conference. Proposals are due May 15, 2020 (extended). SECOORA will coordinate with the winner of the Vembu Subramanian Ocean Scholars Award if the meeting or conference is cancelled or postponed due to COVID-19.

Click here for proposal announcement.

About Vembu Subramanian

Vembu Subramanian lived a life dedicated to uplifting others. While hired at SECOORA for his technical skill, Vembu’s true strength was his interpersonal skill, as reflected by his unofficial job title – Social Chairman. If you had the chance to meet him, you will have been touched by his sincerity, his ethics, as well as his laughter and genuine kindness. Vembu had a deep passion to help others and loved working with students, acting as their mentor.

Click here to meet the past winners.


SECOORA is continuing Vembu’s mentoring legacy by sponsoring the annual Ocean Scholars Award.  The award value for 2020 is $2,500 and proposals are due May 15, 2020 (extended).

This award will be provided to one undergraduate student, graduate student, or early career professional to provide travel support to present at a regional, national, or international meeting or conference.

Request for Applications/Proposal

Proposals must follow the required proposal format and be relevant to a SECOORA focus area. Proposals that do not follow the required format will not be evaluated. All work must be completed within one year of project start date.

Maximum page length is four (4) pages (does not include appendices). Text should be 12-point font, all margins 1-inch, and must include the following components:

  • Title Page
    • Proposal title
    • Applicant’s name and complete contact information
    • Advisor name and contact information (i.e. professor supervising work). If applying as an early career professional, please include your employer’s contact information, job title, name of company/institution, and hire date
    • Proposal summary (1 paragraph)
  • Short description of research being to be presented
    • Statement of the issue being addressed.
    • Project description including research goals, objectives, and location of research sites. At least a portion of the research must be conducted within the SECOORA region.
    • Identification of SECOORA focus area addressed and user/stakeholder engagement.
  • Description of conference attending
    • Identify the conference you plan to attend. Provide a brief rationale for presenting your work at the selected conference, and whether your presentation will be an oral presentation or a poster session.
    • Provide a budget and budget justification. Funds may be used for any purpose related to the conference travel. The budget should include items such as conference registration fees, transportation costs (e.g. airfare, mileage), lodging rate, per diem, etc. University overhead charges are not permitted, nor is any support for the faculty sponsor. Matching funds and in-kind support are not required.

The following are proposal appendices that do NOT count towards the four-page limit:

  • Literature Cited page
  • Applicants must include a one-page CV or resume
  • For undergraduate and graduate students, a signed letter of support from their major professor is required.  For early career professionals, a letter of support from their hiring manager/supervisor is required.
  • Graduate and undergraduate students must also submit a transcript and a completed SECOORA endorsement form by College/University sponsored programs office or company business office.


An eligible applicant is any student or early career professional studying or working at a SECOORA member institution.

  • Students must attend a SECOORA member institution and be enrolled full-time towards a degree in an undergraduate or graduate program.
  • Early career professionals are those that have been working less than five years from their college graduation date and he/she must be working at a SECOORA member institution.


Please submit the entire application package electronically in PDF format no later than 5:00PM ET on May 15, 2020 (extended) to Abbey Wakely (abbey@secooraorgpact.wpengine.com) and copy Jennifer Dorton (jdorton@secooraorgpact.wpengine.com).

Tip: Print this list and check off each item to make sure your application is complete!

Application/Proposal Review Process and Terms

  1. Proposal package is due by 5:00PM ET on May 15, 2020 (extended).
  2. SECOORA will convene a 3-5 person review panel that includes SECOORA staff and members. The review panel will rank proposals based on their relevance to SECOORA’s mission and stakeholder needs and adherence to the instructions provided in this request for proposals.
  3. All work must be completed no later than one year after receiving the award.
  4. Upon completion, the successful scholar will have to submit a photo of the scholar presenting at the meeting/conference. SECOORA will use the photo in a SECOORA news story which will be posted on-line and distributed via our newsletter mailing list.

Award Funding

The successful applicant will be notified no later than June 2020. For a graduate and undergraduate student recipient, funds will be distributed by SECOORA to the applicant’s university and will be managed by the awardee’s major professor, who must agree to serve as principal investigator on the project. Funding for early career professionals will be distributed to the applicant as a subcontract from SECOORA.

This is an open and competitive process. SECOORA reserves the right to reject any and all applications/proposals received as a result of this process. SECOORA reserves the right to request that applicants make modifications to proposals at any time before an award is made.

Questions Regarding Application Solicitation

For any questions related to this fellowship, please contact Abbey Wakely (abbey@secooraorgpact.wpengine.com). Good-faith efforts will be made to answer as many questions as possible, but an answer is not guaranteed for every question.


The SECOORA region encompasses Florida, Georgia, South Carolina and North Carolina. This opportunity enables recipients to become familiar with SECOORA’s mission and objectives, US Integrated Ocean Observing System (IOOS), and related marine scientific and technological programs.

SECOORA is one of the eleven coastal ocean observing regional associations partnered with the US IOOS. SECOORA sustains and advances coastal and ocean observing, modeling, and data management subsystems for the US southeast coastal and ocean waters. SECOORA supports: maintenance and operation of in-situ real-time ocean moorings and High Frequency (HF) radar observational networks from North Carolina to West Florida; a multi-scale, multi-resolution modeling subsystem that delivers model data and products for coastal resource and emergency response managers and other users; and, has established a robust data management and communications infrastructure. SECOORA is IOOS certified, and implementing the US IOOS recommended standards that promote interoperability, discovery, efficient data aggregation, access, sharing, visualization, and use of coastal ocean data (physical, chemical, biological and geological). Information products are made available to stakeholders and decision makers via the SECOORA data portal. SECOORA’s website provides a central hub for access to our communication, education, and other content materials as well as our data, models, and data portal.