Sea Grant Undergraduate Researchers Receive Awards

Amanda Fontenot at LSU Discover Day 2017

Two Louisiana Sea Grant-sponsored undergraduate students won awards at the Fourth Annual LSU Discover Day held in early April. Both are 2016 Undergraduate Research Opportunities Program (UROP) students at Louisiana State University.

Amanda Fontenot won first place in the Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) category for her research poster titled Eroding Wetland Soils in Coastal Louisiana’s Barataria Bay Could Impact Future Climate and Sea Level Rise. She also won a Tiger Choice Award, which is a people’s choice honor. Fontenot’s UROP faculty sponsor is John White.

Shannon Matzke took home first place for her oral presentation The Effects of Nutrient and Sediment Availability on Spartina patens Productivity, also in the STEM category. Her UROP faculty sponsor is Tracy Quirk.

LSU students from all disciplines and colleges are eligible to compete in LSU Discover Day. Faculty and staff serve as judges.

“I congratulate both Amanda and Shannon,” said Robert Twilley, LSG Executive Director. “UROP is one of the more effective ways for Sea Grant to stimulate research by supporting undergraduate students.”

Shannon Matzke

The Louisiana Sea Grant College Program established UROP in 1992. It provides talented undergraduate students interested in pursuing advanced studies in marine-related disciplines with hands-on research experience. Projects receive funding in the range of $1,500-$2,500. Applications are accepted each fall (due date is typically early December) for projects starting the following March.

For more information about UROP, visit

Since its establishment in 1968, Louisiana Sea Grant has worked to promote stewardship of the state’s coastal resources through a combination of research, education and outreach programs critical to the cultural, economic and environmental health of Louisiana’s coastal zone. Louisiana Sea Grant, based at Louisiana State University, is part of the National Sea Grant Program, a network of 33 programs in each of the U.S. coastal and Great Lakes states and Puerto Rico/U.S. Virgin Islands.