Elizabeth Batts, Max Hawkins and Nicholas Hayes headshots

Three UA Students Earn Hollings Scholarships

Elizabeth Batts, Max Hawkins and Nicholas Hayes headshots
From left, Elizabeth Batts, Max Hawkins and Nicholas Hayes.

TUSCALOOSA, Ala. – Three University of Alabama students will receive the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Ernest F. Hollings Undergraduate Scholarship for 2020-2022.

The awardees are Elizabeth Batts, of Kingsport, Tennessee; Max Hawkins, of Renner, South Dakota; and Nicholas Hayes, of Memphis, Tennessee.

The scholarship provides a two-year academic award of $9,500 per year, and a 10-week, full-time, paid summer internship opportunity at any NOAA facility nationwide. Scholars also receive funding to present their NOAA research projects at two national scientific conferences.

Since the program’s inception in 2005, 36 UA students have been named Hollings Scholars.

Batts is a Randall Research Scholar majoring in marine science, biology and physics. She conducts research under Dr. Kevin Kocot, assistant professor of biological sciences, on the global biodiversity of aplacophora and biodiversity of Icelandic euphrosinidae. For these projects, Batts makes DNA barcodes to analyze the phylogenetic relationship between samples. Outside of research, she is an assistant team leader for the Center for Service and Leadership and president of the Marine Science Club.

Hawkins is a computer engineering major and Randall Research Scholar. He has worked under Dr. Jeremy Bailin, associate professor of physics and astronomy, to improve radio astronomy data using machine learning techniques.

His research continues work Hawkins did last summer at the Green Bank Observatory in West Virginia. This summer, he will remotely intern at Breakthrough Listen, a $100 million initiative to search for civilizations beyond Earth. Hawkins is also a member of UA’s EcoCar team.

Hayes is a Randall Research Scholar pursuing a diverse combination of majors and minors in mathematics, physics, interdisciplinary linguistics, German and computer science. Hayes serves as an undergraduate research assistant for Dr. Firat Soylu, assistant professor of educational psychology and neuroscience, and Dr. Zhe Jiang, assistant professor of computer science.

He contributes to projects focusing on bilingual math cognition, machine learning and spatiotemporal data mining with applications in earth science. Outside of research, Hayes is an Honors College Ambassador, Tide Talks executive team member and co-founder of Tuscaloosa’s chapter of the United Nations Association of the United States of America.


Bryant Welbourne, UA Strategic Communications, bryant.welbourne@ua.edu