Cara Kowalchyk Wins 2022 CSGS Master’s Thesis Award

Cara Kowalchyk sampling fish

Congratulations to AEC alum Cara Kowalchyk for being awarded the Conference of Southern Graduate Schools‘ 2022 Master’s Thesis Award for a Life Sciences study. Recipients are selected based on the thesis’ clarity of style and presentation, scholarship, research methodology, and contributions to the field or discipline.

Cara Kowalchyk with striped bass
Cara Kowalchyk in the field with striped bass.

Cara’s master’s thesis, “Influence of Genetic and Environmental Adaptation on Striped Bass (Morone saxatilis) Egg Characteristics,” detailed how the characteristics of striped bass eggs respond to salinity rather than genetics.

“My thesis work provides some better insight to reproductive adaptations of striped bass that is helping to inform striped bass management in the state,” says Kowalchyk. “I defended my masters virtually in April 2020 because of the pandemic, so this award means a lot that I am being recognized by other academics and will get a chance to present my work again.”

Cara now works as a biologist for the division of marine fisheries, thanks to the experiences she had while being supervised by Dr. Ben Reading. “I loved my time at NC State, particularly the time spent at the Pamlico Aquaculture Field Laboratory every spring, and spent many of my birthdays there! It is an amazing environment where lots of hard work gets done,” says Kowalchyk.

The award will be granted at the annual conference for southern graduate schools and Cara will give a short presentation highlighting the key components of her thesis work.

Congratulations Cara!

Learn more about our graduate programs here.

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