Hall-Bonner Program for Minority Doctoral Scholars in Ocean Sciences

Dr. Robert Bonner Professor Anita Hall

Dr. Robert Bonner & Professor Anita Hall

Hampton University, Old Dominion University (ODU), and The College of William and Mary, Virginia Institute of Marine Science (VIMS/SMS), invite applications to the Hall-Bonner Minority Doctoral Scholars Program in Ocean Sciences. The goal of this program is to increase the diversity of students earning doctoral degrees in the marine and ocean sciences by creating a genuine community of minority ocean scholars. We seek motivated students interested in pursuing a Ph.D. and career in the ocean sciences. In addition to the standard full support provided to graduate students at VIMS/SMS or ODU, Hall-Bonner Scholars receive additional funding for tuition, research and travel. Scholars participate in a pre-enrollment summer that eases the transition to graduate studies and provides exposure to a variety of research experiences. As a part of the program, scholars participate in enrichment and career-building activities, including special seminars, research cruises, teaching, community-outreach, academic employment preparation and attendance of scientific society meetings. Within the ocean sciences, fields of specialization may include biological, chemical, physical or geological oceanography, biogeochemistry, ecology, immunology and disease processes of marine organisms, fisheries, or marine policy-related studies. Depending on their specialization, Program Scholars will earn their Ph.D. at Old Dominion’s Department of Ocean, Earth and Atmospheric Sciences (OEAS) or William and Mary’s School of Marine Science (SMS). We invite you to visit the home pages of OEAS ( and SMS ( to learn more about the graduate programs, prospective advisors, and research strengths of each institution. The program has enrolled 19 students since 2004, and has spaces for 5 new students each year, from fall 2010 – 2012. Applicants will be selected on the basis of demonstrated academic achievements (GPA and GREs), letters of recommendation, as well as evidence of motivation, creativity, experience, leadership potential, and commitment to a career in the ocean or marine sciences. All applicants must have completed a BS or BA degree before entering the program.

To Apply:

Step 1: Send a letter to Hall-Bonner Program Director: Dr. Benjamin Cuker, Hampton University ( that includes: Name, e-mail address, a personal statement. This statement should describe your career plans and reasons why you wish to pursue graduate study in marine or ocean science. This essay is important in identifying your professional goals, the basis for your selection of a program of study, and attracting faculty interest. The statement should reflect your ability to think independently and creatively and to describe your research and educational plans. Be sure to explain what has attracted you to apply to be a Hall-Bonner Minority Scholar. That is, what are your expectations from the Hall-Bonner Program, and how do you see yourself fitting in that program. Be sure to comment on any special experiences you have had, publications, or other things you have done that suggest success in your graduate studies. Please limit your essay to 1,000 well chosen words. Be certain to write your statement with the utmost care.

Step 2: Apply directly to either or both ODU of VIMS. Completed applications for the 2010 academic year must be received by January 15, 2011 for VIMS/SMS ( and February 15, 2011 for ODU/OEAS (

This program is named in honor of the late Professor Anita Hall and Dr. Robert Bonner.

Professor Hall was an ichthyologist and began the teaching of marine science courses at Hampton Institute (now University) in the 1950's. Her efforts eventually led to the creation of the Department of Marine and Environmental Science in 1981. Dr. Bonner is a marine botanist. Prior to his retirement in the mid-1990's, Dr. Bonner had served as Dean of the School of Science for about two decades. Dr. Bonner oversaw the creation of the Marine Science program at Hampton University. He also supervised the first marine based research thesis projects completed by Hampton University master's degree students. Professor Hall and Dr. Bonner created a legacy of excellence and achievement that we know will inspire the students in the program.

Hall-Bonner Scholars

Erica Holloman with her mentor Dr. Michael Newman of VIMS

Erica Holloman with her mentor
Dr. Michael Newman of VIMS

Erica Holloman

Hall-Bonner scholar, Erica Holloman is working on the ecotoxicology of marine organisms for her doctoral dissertation. She also works with Dr. Newman on the NSF funded Center for Ocean Science Education Excellence

Cielomar Rodríguez-Calderón <br />and her 
              mentor Dr. Steve Kuehl

Cielomar Rodríguez-Calderón
and her mentor Dr. Steve Kuehl

Cielomar Rodríguez-Calderón

Cielomar Rodríguez-Calderón and her mentor Dr. Steve Kuehl. Cielomar Rodríguez-Calderón is interested in the origin, flux and fate of sediments, and the characteristics of the sedimentary strata. She is working in the middle zone of the York River applying radioisotope and x-ray analysis, acoustic profiles and GIS. Cielomar is also interested in the effects of environmental and anthropogenic changes on sedimentological processes.

Leo A. Procise and his mentor Dr. Margaret Mulholland

Leo A. Procise and his
mentor Dr. Margaret

Leo A. Procise

Leo is interested in particulate nitrogen and carbon isotopes, phytoplankton dynamics, and plankton ecology.
He is focusing on water quality, chlorophyll a concentrations and N and C isotopes in estuarine ecosystems.

Delonna White with her mentor, Dr. Eugene  Burreson, at VIMS/SMS.

Delonna White with her
mentor, Dr. Eugene
Burreson, at VIMS/SMS.

Delonna White

Hall-Bonner Scholar Delonna White is using advanced molecular techniques to study diseases of oysters.

ustin Falls and his mentor Rom Lipcius

Justin Falls and his
mentor Rom Lipcius

Justin Falls

Justin worked on Blue crab (Callinectes sapidus) predation and survival. He earned his MS degree in 2008 and is continuing to be active in research at VIMS.

Leonard Pace and his mentor John A. Musick

Leonard Pace and his
mentor John A. Musick

Leonard Pace

Lenny studied shark ecology and aspects of oceanography that influence shark distribution.
He finihsed his MS in 2007 is presently working for NOAA.