Five Unity College undergraduates were awarded Nicholas Holt Challenge Scholarships and will share $10,000 to undertake a wide range of research and internship opportunities worldwide.

The Spring 2016 Nicholas Holt Challenge Scholarship recipients are:

  • Renee Adlesperger ‘16. The Captive Wildlife Care and Education major from Tuscola, Texas, will take an internship with the Institute for Marine Mammals in Gulfport, Miss.
  • Rhyan Paquereau ‘18. The Parks and Forest Resources major from Biddeford, Maine, will join the Maine Coast Heritage Trust Fellowship Internship Program at the Coastal Mountain Land Trust, Camden, Maine.
  • Greg LeClair ‘18. The Captive Wildlife Care and Education and Wildlife Biology double major from Litchfield, Maine, will serve as a field research assistant with the Institute of Bird Populations working with Northern Spotted Owls and Northern Goshawks in Quincy, California.
  • Caitlyn Connolly ‘18. The Captive Wildlife Care and Education & Environmental Policy, Law and Society double major from Oak Harbor, Wash., will be a Bird Field Survey Assistant with Lillehammer University College in Norway.
  • Anya Samiljan ‘17. The Captive Wildlife Care and Education major from Durham, Maine, will undertake an internship as Avian Fellow at the Alaska Sea Life Center in Homer, Alaska.
  • Josh Pittendreigh ’17. The Captive Wildlife Care and Education major from Exeter, N.H., will join The Florida Aquarium, an Association of Zoos and Aquariums-accredited facility, as an aquarium education intern.

Unity College President Dr. Melik Peter Khoury lauded the Holt family who donated the funds for the scholarships, saying it is an example of partnerships that work to educate Unity College students in the sustainability sciences.

“These recipients will be doing on-the-ground research in internships that will give them valuable tools they need to excel in next-generation careers, while completing projects for their sponsoring organizations that lead to real change,” Khoury said.

Established at Unity College in 2010, the Nicholas Holt Challenge Scholarship Fund is a gift made possible by the Holt family in collaboration with the Maine Community Foundation. The purpose of the fund is to support juniors and seniors in challenging, experiential learning projects that are self-initiated, curriculum-based, and approved by an academic advisor.

“Holt scholarships help students get firsthand experience in research beyond the classroom,” Khoury said. “But the partnership works both ways: Institutions get bright, inquisitive minds for a season to help them attain their own program goals. It’s research and theory, applied to the real world.”

Unity College was a major interest in Nick Holt’s life since 1973; he spent more than 20 years working toward accreditation of its strong environmental teaching program. Holt was an architect, family man, befriender of strangers, Army veteran, marcher on Washington, sailor, and a lover of color, trees and light.

“The college is very pleased to continue playing a role in honoring the passion and commitment Nicholas Holt had for the students of Unity College,” Chief Fundraising Officer Erica Hutchinson said.  “He and his family have made an incredible impact on the lives of our students through their support of this scholarship fund. And Unity College is grateful to be a part of a program that provides students with unique opportunities that would otherwise not be possible. We are eternally grateful for their generosity.”

Interviews with the students, their photos, and further detail on each student’s specific internship and research positions are available by contacting the associate director of media relations.

Friday, April 29, 2016