BAR HARBOR, Maine — College of the Atlantic junior Franklin Jacoby has received a prestigious Goldwater Scholarship. The award, from the Barry M. Goldwater Scholarship and Excellence in Education Foundation, is given annually based on academic merit to second- and third-year college students planning careers in science and math.
Jacoby of Columbia Falls is the only Maine student to receive the award this year. He is a dedicated scientist who expects to continue his studies to obtain a doctorate in biology so he can ultimately research and teach at the university level in biology and conservation. This year, 1,095 students applied to the Goldwater Foundation for the scholarship, which comes with a $7,500 academic stipend in addition to the honor.
Only 275 scholarships were awarded.
Since becoming a student at COA, Jacoby has been conducting field research, primarily on birds. Working with another student last fall, he planned, conducted and reviewed a biological inventory of Black Island, off Frenchboro, Long Island, for the Maine Coast Heritage Trust. This work has been basic to creating a management plan for the island.
Jacoby grew up on a family farm in rural Maine, where he was home-schooled, designing his own educational course while taking on responsible farm work. “It was this environment of hard work in the natural world and self-directed study that led me to become fascinated by biology and to pursue it at college,” he wrote in his application for the Goldwater Scholarship.
Early last year, Jacoby completed a basic census of loon winter habitat on Mount Desert Island for Acadia National Park. The results were featured as a poster at the 2010 Ecological Society of America meetings, and subsequently used by Acadia National Park in illustrating work being done in the park. Jacoby’s Goldwater essay details how he hopes to expand this research to create a detailed picture of the wintering life history of common loons in coastal Maine, including behavior, habitat use, and more specific evaluation of threats to loon survival, so as to offer a more comprehensive description of loon life history.