Building Her Network

By Logan Jackson

Published on April 30, 2024

During Emma Knudson’s two years as an undergraduate student at the University of Missouri she has taken part in an impressive variety of hands-on learning opportunities, especially related to research. Knudson will be able to build on those experiences this summer after recently earning the Ernest F. Hollings Undergraduate Scholarship offered through the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).

Emma Knudson
Emma Knudson

The award includes a paid summer internship at a NOAA facility, two years of tuition support and travel aid.

“The internship will give me the chance to do work related to oceans and coastlines, and I’ll be able to do that work alongside the nation’s experts,” Knudson said. “Hands-on experience is vital to this field, and I could not think of a better way to pursue that. It also provides an incredible networking experience with NOAA, as previous scholars are often sought after to work for the agency after they graduate! I’m extremely excited to get to work with such a diverse and experienced organization.”

Knudson is a sophomore environmental sciences major who is also pursuing the Honors Certificate at MU. She has spent two years as an undergraduate research assistant in the soil biogeochemistry lab led by Morgan Davis, an assistant professor in the School of Natural Resources. There, Knudson has performed tests for pH, bulk density, soil texture class, PMC, POX-C, nitrate and ammonia measurements on soil samples. She has also conducted particle size analysis on soil samples using PARIO technology. Knudson is also part of the Mizzou Soil Judging Team and serves as the diversity, equity and inclusion coordinator for the Mizzou Women in Natural Resources.

She will meet with a variety of lead researchers during her internship orientation week and will then be assigned to a specific NOAA office.

“The hands-on learning aspect of this experience is one of the most exciting parts of it for me,” Knudson said. “I grew up and currently study in the Midwest, so the opportunity to get placed at an office anywhere in the country is going to be such a unique experience. I love how much emphasis the program puts on getting students out into the field to learn directly!”

Along with the orientation, Knudson will have the opportunity to travel to two scientific conferences through the scholarship. Her internship will last 10 weeks.

“Going through the application process was an extremely clarifying experience for me,” Knudson said. “It really allowed me to take a step back and look at my goals from a bigger perspective. The essays and application forced me to truly picture what I want my life to look like in 5 or 10 years and how my current aspirations tie into that picture. It also allowed me to look back and evaluate all my past opportunities and how they’ve shaped where I am today.”