Student Scholarship Program

MASNA Student Scholarships

 The 2018 – 2019 MASNA Student Scholarship Program is made possible by our generous sponsors, Ecotech Marine, and Two Little Fishies.




Latest Updates

June 16, 2018: The application period is now closed.

May 7, 2018: The 2018 – 2019 MASNA Student Scholarships are now open

April 23, 2018: We will be announcing the scholarship program soon.

January 21, 2018: The 2018 – 2019 MASNA Student Scholarship Program will be announced in April.



The 2018 – 2019 MASNA Student Scholarship Recipients

Press release HERE

It is with great pleasure that MASNA can announce this year’s MASNA Student Scholarship recipients.

The 2018 – 2019 MASNA Undergraduate Student Scholarship recipient is Gabrielle (Gabbie) Baillargeon. Gabbie is a full-time Junior at Roger Williams University (RWU) and is pursuing a Bachelor of Science in Marine Biology with a minor in Mathematics.

In Gabbie’s freshman year, she volunteered in the RWU aquaculture lab, specifically in the copepod and algae department, as an introduction to aquaculture at a research institution. Currently, Gabbie is working on an independent research project with Dr. Andrew Rhyne, that aims to rank the sustainability of marine ornamental fish species in the aquarium trade which will culminate in the publication of this information in a user-friendly smartphone app. This will allow hobbyists to easily access species-specific sustainability information when choosing the next addition to their tank. In the future, Gabbie hopes to continue to focus her research on population dynamics in an effort to inform management policy.

This will be Gabbie’s first time attending MACNA. When asked about MACNA 2018, Gabbie says “I am very excited to immerse myself in the entire experience and come away with new knowledge on a variety of topics. I am looking forward to seeing innovative technologies on display and hearing from many speakers about cutting edge research in the marine aquarium field. In particular, I am especially excited to listen to the renowned keynote speaker, Dr. Charlie Veron, as I have always had an interest in coral reef biology and restoration.”


The 2018 – 2019 MASNA Graduate Student Scholarship recipient is Michael (Mike) Connelly, who is attending the Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science, at the University of Miami, for his PhD in Marine Biology and Ecology. Mike also attended the University of Miami for his undergraduate studies and obtained his B.S. degree in Marine Science and Biology in 2016. As an undergraduate student, Mike served as president of the University of Miami Aquarium Club (UMAC) for two years, where he increased club membership to over sixty members while organizing club field trips to the Mote Marine Laboratory, Georgia Aquarium, New England Aquarium and Ripley’s Aquarium of Canada. He also orchestrated the installation of a new 150-gallon display aquarium in UMAC’s main meeting room.

Mike continued into the RSMAS Ph.D. program to work with his advisor Dr. Nikki Traylor-Knowles on research projects examining the molecular and cellular mechanisms of cnidarian innate immunity using the cauliflower coral (Pocillopora damicornis) as a model species. He built an 800-gallon recirculating aquarium system in their laboratory in Miami that is now used for culturing coral fragments and conducting experiments that investigate interactions between corals’ innate immune systems and bacterial microbiomes.

His Ph.D. research uses antibiotic treatments and heat stress to disrupt coral bacterial communities and examine the effects of bacterial community composition on coral immune gene expression patterns and stress response pathways. To further this project, Mike travelled to southern Taiwan to complete research at the National Museum of Marine Biology Aquarium (NMMBA) during the National Science Foundation’s East Asia and Pacific Summer Institute (EAPSI) program last summer.

At MACNA 2018 Mike is looking forward to meeting the MASNA scholarship sponsors and thanking them for their support of his research. He is also excited to meet the keynote speaker Dr. Charlie Veron as well as all of the expert aquarists in attendance to learn how to improve the laboratory’s coral husbandry and experimental aquarium systems. Mike will be using the scholarship funds to purchase equipment for coral flow respirometry measurements during antibiotic and heat stress experiments and also to present his research at the 3rd Global Invertebrate Genomics Alliance (GIGA III) meeting in Curaçao this October.

MASNA, the MASNA Student Scholarship Committee, LiveAquaria, EcoTech Marine, and Two Little Fishies would like to congratulate Gabbie and Michael on their awards. We are proud to name Gabrielle Baillargeon and Michael Connelly, the 2018 – 2019 MASNA Student Scholarship recipients, and wish them all the best in their future endeavors.

MASNA would like to thank, Ecotech Marine, and Two Little Fishies. Without them, the two $4,000 MASNA Student Scholarships would not be possible.

Application Details & Eligibility Requirements

We are proud to announce the 2018 – 2019 MASNA Student Scholarships. This year there are two scholarships available; one $4,000 scholarship for a college undergraduate student and one $4,000 scholarship for a college graduate student

To be eligible for a $4,000 MASNA Student Scholarship:

  • An applicant must be a current/entering undergraduate or graduate student at an accredited college or university.
  • The student must have declared a major/focus or have intent to declare a major/focus in one of the marine science disciplines.

Selection will be based upon the student’s academic history and the student’s contributions and demonstrated commitment to the marine aquarium hobby.

Successful MASNA Student Scholarship recipients must be able to travel to MACNA 2018 in order to receive the scholarship. Funding is available to assist each of the chosen applicants in attending MACNA.

North American students, no matter where they are studying in the world, as well as students from abroad, who are studying in North America, are eligible, as long as they attend/plan to attend an accredited college or university. MASNA recognizes these locations as being in North America.

The MASNA Student Scholarships are in U.S. Dollars.

Our ideal scholarship candidate:

1: Is seeking a degree in a marine science field.

2: Is active in the marine aquarium hobby.

3: Will be a full-time undergraduate or graduate student in 2018 – 2019.

4: Has a GPA above 2.5 / 4.0.

The 2018 – 2019 MASNA Student Scholarships will be publicly awarded to the recipients at the 30th annual Marine Aquarium Conference of North America (MACNA) in Las Vegas, Nevada on September 7-9, 2018.

More information about MACNA can be found at

Funding is available to assist each of the chosen applicants in attending MACNA.

If you have questions, please read the FAQ below. If your questions are not answered, please email

Please have the applicant send the correspondence, not a representative or relative.

The deadline for submission is June 15, 2018.


About MASNA:

MASNA is a non-profit organization composed of marine aquarium societies and individual hobbyists from North America and abroad, totaling several thousand individuals.

MASNA’s goals are to:

  • Educate our members with online and published material, the MACNA conference, and other sanctioned events
  • Assist in forming and promoting the growth of clubs within the hobby while ensuring a sustainable future for the marine environment
  • Support the efforts to eliminate abuses in collecting and transporting marine organisms through education, assistance and encouragement
  • Encourage the ethical growth of the marine aquarium hobby and support captive breeding/propagation efforts

MASNA operates from a central Board of Directors elected each year by the delegates from the member societies at the Marine Aquarium Conference of North America, (MACNA).

Press Coverage of the MASNA Student Scholarships

Frequently Asked Questions

Previous MASNA Student Scholarship Recipient Bios:

E-mail and Resume Tips:

Online Application Tips:

Hear more from MASNA and MACNA:

Media Outlets:

Please link to this page in your articles so that potential applicants can read the provided information.


The application period is closed.


Photos from MACNA 2017


Photos from MACNA 2016


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