It will be summertime in Charleston when Evan Patrohay opens his suitcase to start packing, but the recent Clemson University graduate will need more than shorts and T-shirts for where he’s going.
Patrohay is heading north– way north– to study at the University of Tromsø in Norway as part of his Fulbright scholarship. He plans to pack sweaters, a North Face jacket and warm gloves for his 10-month stay in Tromsø, the third largest city in the Arctic Circle.
Patrohay will work with Professor Bodil Bluhm to research how tiny organisms called meiofauna are changing as Arctic waters warm.
“We’ll be studying their characteristics, seeing what the warmer temperatures are selecting for and piecing together what that means for the larger ecosystem as a whole,” he said.
For Patrohay, the Fulbright scholarship is the latest and most prestigious honor he has received since enrolling at Clemson. He graduated in May with a Bachelor of Science in biosystems engineering.
Caye Drapcho, an associate professor of biosystems engineering, said Patrohay took three of her classes, worked on the oyster reef restoration project she leads and served as director of the student Biosystems Engineering Club. She found him motivated and committed to the well-being of the biosystems engineering major.
“He just worked really hard, and he’s super intelligent,” Drapcho said. “He had a wide range of interests. That’s one thing that made him stand out. The policy side of things is something that not a lot of engineers get interested in, and he was very interested in that.”
Patrohay was a member of the Honors College and a Lyceum Scholar while at Clemson. The eight courses he took as part of the program gave him a background in political science and helped him see the value of good policy, he said.
“I think that helped me be more well-rounded and made me a better candidate for a Fulbright scholarship,” Patrohay said. “It helped give me the mindset to be open-minded. Learning about political science and philosophy really opened that door.”
Patrohay said that in the Norway project, he will be employing a “trait-based approach” that can be used to study any ecosystem. When he returns to the United States, Patrohay wants to use the skills he learns in Norway to help enhance understanding of how climate change is affecting U.S. ecosystems.
Patrohay, who leaves for Norway in August, was selected for the scholarship by the Board of the Fulbright Foundation in Norway and the J. William Fulbright Foreign Scholarship Board.
Patrohay said his long-term goal is to work in environmental policy, possibly in Washington, D.C. He is working for CDM Smith over the summer and plans to return to the firm after studying in Norway.
“I feel very lucky because they are some of the best hydrologists and water resource engineers in the state,” Patrohay said.
David Freedman, chair of Clemson’s Department of Environmental Engineering and Earth Sciences, said Patrohay’s Fulbright scholarship will help raise the University’s international profile.
“Fulbright scholarships are highly competitive and prestigious,” Freedman said. “This is an excellent opportunity for Evan to represent the United States and Clemson University while advancing important research. It’s a well-deserved honor, and I offer Evan my deepest congratulations.”
WANT TO LEARN MORE? Students interested in the Fulbright US Student Program or other nationally competitive programs should contact the Office of Major Fellowships at 864-656-9704 or email@example.com.
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