Vaughn lands NOAA scholarship


EC Scholar Thomas Vaughan will intern with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association as part of a national scholarship. (Photo by Cliff Hollis)


By Kathryn Kennedy
ECU News Services

An EC Scholar and East Carolina University Honors College student has landed a scholarship and an internship from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

Thomas Vaughan, a sophomore from Murfreesboro, was awarded the Hollings Undergraduate Scholarship on April 1. Only 126 students nationwide were selected for the honor this year, which is valued at approximately $30,000.

Vaughan is pursuing a degree in applied atmospheric science from the Department of Geography. Launched in 2010, the new degree program is one of the things that drew him to East Carolina.

“The applied component (of Vaughan’s degree) is consistent with the goals of NOAA,” said Dr. Scott Curtis, associate professor and advisor to Vaughan. “Thomas is learning how to apply the physical principles of the atmosphere to remote sensing, geographic information science (GIS), GPS and other spatial tools that help meteorologists better collaborate with other natural and social scientists and communicate with the public.”

As part of the Honors College, Vaughan was encouraged by faculty and administrators to apply for the Hollings Scholarship. Honors College Faculty Fellow Dr. Tim Runyan took Vaughan to visit NOAA’s National Weather Service station at Newport/Morehead City to help inspire the essay required as part of the scholarship application.

“The Honors College student experience at ECU combines classroom and out-of-class learning,” said Dr. Richard Eakin, dean of the Honors College at ECU, where the EC Scholars program is housed. “We encourage our students to seek scholarships and internships that broaden that learning as they prepare for their life’s work.”

Vaughan could be placed at any U.S. NOAA office for his summer 2014 internship – from Wilmington to California, he explained. He’s hoping, however, for the National Hurricane Center in Miami.

“Growing up near the coast and experiencing hurricanes made me interested in tropical meteorology,” Vaughan said.

Plus, he added, he’s just not cut out for snow.

More information about the Hollings Scholarship is available online at

Information about ECU’s degree in applied atmospheric science is available at

Learn more about the Honors College and EC Scholars program at