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Blount, Stone earn EPA fellowships

While Olympic athletes vied for the gold this summer in London, Salisbury University juniors Keyyana Blount and Amanda Stone have won the “green.”

Blount, an environmental studies major from La Plata, and Stone, an environmental studies and conflict analysis and dispute resolution double major from Lexington Park, were recipients of Environmental Protection Agency’s 2012 Greater Research Opportunity fellowships.

Only 40 of the awards, worth $48,800 each, are given each year, offering the chance to work side-by-side with EPA officials, according to a news release from Salisbury University.

The fellowships provide students with college funding for their junior and senior years, as well as paid internships at EPA facilities during the summer between those years.

Blount and Stone are the fourth and fifth Salisbury students in the past three years to receive the honor.

“Keyyana and Amanda are to be congratulated for their excellent work at SU, leading to these awards,” said Mike Lewis, chairman of SU’s new environmental studies department. “They represent the very best of Salisbury University, and I can attest that they are not just good students, but good people as well.”

Blount studied an engineering track in high school, but her interests changed after taking an advanced environmental studies course during her senior year.

That class prompted her to major in that field at Salisbury.

Stone did not come to college specifically to study the environment.

It was the university named by the Princeton Review as one of the nation’s most environmentally responsible colleges for the past three years that inspired her.

Unsure what she wanted to major in, Stone joined Salisbury’s Green Floor Living Learning Community, residing and attending classes with other sustainability minded students.

Both credited Lewis with fueling their interests.

Blount said her adviser, James Hatley of the philosophy department, also inspired her to further her environmental pursuit.

Stone received encouragement from environmental studies faculty Bill Nelson and Brian Polkinghorn, her academic adviser and executive director of the school’s Center for Conflict Resolution.

“The environment is such a confrontational topic right now,” Stone said, explaining how her two majors intertwine.

After graduating, she would like to continue the study of both in graduate school.

She hopes her experiences with the EPA will help her narrow her focus even further.

Blount said she would like her EPA internship to allow her to study areas outside the Maryland-Washington, D.C., area to expand the types of ecosystems she is able to study.

She sees the experience as an opportunity for academic growth.

“I’m still exploring, and I hope this fellowship will help me find my niche,” she said.

After graduation, she would like to continue working with the EPA on environmental policy issues and community outreach efforts.

Thomas accepted into honor society

John Thomas, son of Monica and Michael Thomas of Waldorf, was recently accepted into Phi Eta Sigma, the national freshman honor society, at Salisbury University. Thomas is a sophomore majoring in biology. He is a member of the Saferide executive board and an intern. He is also a dean’s list student. Thomas is a 2011 graduate of North Point High School.