Anthropology student wins $23,000 cash scholarship

Sofia Gjerstad

His dreams of being a researcher, author, and professor and to earn a doctorate in Cultural Anthropology now suddenly seem to be closer than ever.

City College student Jonathan Weber is one of only a hundred students nationwide to be awarded the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Ernest F. Hollings Scholarship.

A recent email informed him he had won the scholarship, worth $23,000, and Weber is thrilled to be honored.

“I felt so happy and relieved,” he said. “Relieved because now I can go to UCSB, something that is financially possible thanks to the award. ”

Weber has attended City College for three years and he is currently in his final semester. He is also the president of theSociology and Anthropology Society.
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration usually focuses on awarding students with hard science majors. Weber is majoring in anthropology, a social science at City College, and is the first anthropology student ever to receive the scholarship.
“As the first anthropology student to receive the award, I think it’s my duty to do as well as I can so other anthropology students can win after me,” he said.

As a part of the application process, applicants were asked to write an essay about their career goals and how they match the scholarship’s mission.
Weber said that he thought about the question for two months before deciding his topic and how to approach it.

He also talked about the importance of the field of anthropology when scientists are operating in rural areas where native people live.

Weber has also been involved in the astronomy program for the past two years.
“It helps to show NOAA that I have a keen interest in the hard sciences.”

Weber grew up in Grass Valley in Northern California and he has lived in Jamaica. He spent several years in Oregon and seven years living with native people in Alaska.

“I just loved living in Alaska; it was very neat,” he said.

Weber will travel to Maryland in May to meet The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration leaders as well as the other recipients to discuss his upcoming 10-week paid internship.

“The internship is in the summer and will be a personal project where I, at the end, present my results to the NOAA community,” he said.

Weber is free to choose nationwide where he wants to do his internship and he said he would go somewhere he wouldn’t have the opportunity to go if it wasn’t for the award.
Though, he said, he’d love to go to Alaska again.
Weber is certain about his future.

“I have already been accepted to UCSB and the scholarship will make my two future years there possible,” he said. His plan is to get a bachelor’s degree in cultural anthropology, to excel and to win more scholarships so he can continue to study until he earns his doctorate.

“I’m excited and I feel like all my goals will be reached,” Weber said.