Brundage Scholarship awarded to UT Lake Erie Center graduate student

February 24, 2011 | News, UToday
By Ashley Traynum

Bodamer Scarbro

Bodamer Scarbro

After the tragic loss of Dr. Robert Brundage, a UT graduate and community activist, the Lake Erie Waterkeeper Association wanted to honor his memory. The result was an annual $500 scholarship in his honor, and this year Betsy Bodamer Scarbro, a PhD student at the UT Lake Erie Center, is the recipient.

“This award is encouraging. When you work on a project for four or five years, it becomes a huge part of your life,” Bodamer Scarbro said. “You might know your project is important, but it is always nice to hear someone else say that what you’re working so hard on is worthwhile.”

Bodamer Scarbro has developed an aquarium system that studies how low-oxygen conditions affect fish and other organisms in Lake Erie.

“Government funding for environmental and scientific agencies is getting slashed at a time when we really need to focus on understanding our environment, decreasing our impacts, and making changes toward sustainability,” she said. “With the budgets of our funding agencies on the decline, any little bit of money can make a huge difference to a project.”

Brundage, who died in 2009 as a result of injuries he sustained during a robbery, was a research scientist, accomplished musician, and advocate for social justice, education and the environment.

“‘Dr. Bob’ came to all the Lake Erie Center public lecture talks, and we sincerely miss him,” said Dr. Carol Stepien, director of the Lake Erie Center. “I believe that his legacy of environmental responsibility lives on in this scholarship to the Lake Erie Center. Our graduate students are devoted to improving environmental conditions on our Great Lake.”

Brundage, or “Dr. Bob” as he was often called, was a native of Toledo and received his bachelor’s degree from UT. He earned his doctorate from Brandeis University. He was committed to water quality in Lake Erie, especially the Maumee watershed, and served on the board of the Lake Erie Waterkeeper.

“This is a unique scholarship to recognize a Lake Erie Center graduate student for important research to improve Lake Erie environmental quality,” Stepien said. “This is 90 percent of the USA’s surface freshwater and is a limiting resource. It is critically important to protect and conserve this resource for our nation.

“Our Lake Erie Center graduate students are very committed to environmental research and public responsibility and continuing Dr. Bob’s legacy.”

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