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Shell Club, Bridell Memorial Fellowship recipient named


PHOTO PROVIDED Alexander Nickerson

In 1982, the Sanibel-Captiva Shell Club made a contribution supporting the Dissertation Research being carried out by Bruce Barber, the first person to earn a PhD in the Department of Marine Science at the University of South Florida.

In 1985, the club voted to establish an endowed fellowship that would support graduate students annually. What began with a modest contribution — $1,000 from the club and $500 from Sanibel residents Al and Mary Bridell — has grown into a significant endowment.

The Bridells established a separate fellowship in 1992 to help graduate students in the same department seeking financial support to explore new theories about biological, chemical, geological or physical aspects of ocean and atmosphere.

In 2009, the two endowments were consolidated to maximize the support available to the recipient. Because the combined amount was over $100,000, the state contributed over $52,000 as a matching grant. It was renamed the Sanibel-Captiva Shell Club/Mary and Al Bridell Memorial Fellowship.

This year’s recipient is PhD candidate Alexander Nickerson. He will use the $10,000 fellowship to study hurricane formations with artificial intelligence techniques developed at the university.