Student Endowment Fund Presentation and Travel Award Applications

The National Shellfisheries Association Student Endowment Fund (SEF) was established in 1989 to maintain and expand the participation of students in the Association. Contributions to the NSA Fund are tax-deductible and are used to defray the costs associated with presenting oral and poster presentations at the Annual Meeting.

Current graduate students attending NSA Annual Meetings are invited to apply for SEF travel support and/or consideration for the presentation awards. To be eligible for an award, students must:

  • Be current members of the NSA at the time of abstract submission
  • Present their original research and be the first author of the presentation

Recent graduates may also apply, if they 1) present research gathered while a student and are 2) within one year of receiving their degree. Please note that incomplete applications will not receive consideration.

Presentation Awards

The Thurlow C. Nelson Award is given for outstanding oral presentations of original research. The award is named after the distinguished shellfish biologist who served as NSA President from 1931 to 1933, and contributed more than 125 papers, many relating to oyster biology. The Gordon Gunter Award is presented for outstanding poster presentations of original research. Recipients of both of these awards receive membership for two years in the Association as well as a certificate of accomplishment..

Judging criteria for oral and poster presentations can be found HERE.

Only graduate students, presenting research conducted during their graduate research tenure, are eligible for this competition.  Each eligible student can submit one oral presentation and one poster presentation to the judging process.

In order to apply for presentation awards:

  • Submit your abstract for the Annual Meeting at www.shellfish.org by the submission deadline. 
  • During abstract submission, students who would like to have their presentation judged should indicate as such.  If a student is giving more than one presentation, this should only be done for the presentation(s) which that student wishes to be judged.
  • During abstract submission, students should also identify which research categories best reflect their work.

That’s it!  During the meeting your presentations will be scored by multiple volunteer judges.  Award winners will be notified directly after the meeting once scores have been compiled.  Award winners will also be identified in the NSA newsletter and on the website.

Student Travel Awards

Each year the SEF is able to grant a limited number of travel awards in the form of shared lodging or registration waivers to graduate students who will be presenting their original research at the annual meeting.  Travel award recipients will be expected to help with NSA needs for at least a half-day at the meeting (e.g., staffing the sales booth, operating A/V equipment).

The travel award application deadline is December 1st, annually (November 1 during Triennial meeting years - 2022, 2025, 2028)

Travel awards are awarded by a lottery system. To be included in the lottery process, please fill out an application and email it to Melissa Southworth ([email protected]). You will receive confirmation that your application has been received. Notification of lottery results will be sent by email no later than December 15th in the year prior to the Annual Meeting (Note:  This date will be earlier, i.e., November 15th, during Triennial meeting years). If you don’t receive either notification, please follow up!!


For questions about presentation awards, travel awards or anything else SEF-related, please feel free to contact any of the SEF co-chairs.

LeRoy Creswell ([email protected]; 772.834.9062)
Peter Kingsley-Smith ([email protected]; 843.953.9840)

Melissa Southworth ([email protected]; 804.684.7821)