Tuesday, March 20, 2018

John Costelloe Scholarship for GMIT Marine Science Students

AQUAFACT is pleased to announce a new scholarship opportunity for second year students on the Applied Freshwater and Marine Biology degree programme in the Galway-Mayo Institute of Technology (GMIT). The John Costelloe Scholarship award was launched at a function in GMIT, Galway on Tuesday, 20 March, attended by family, friends and work colleagues of the late John Costelloe, and students and staff in the GMIT Dept of Natural Sciences. The new scholarship consists of a sculpture by John Coll, who was a friend and former colleague of John Costelloe, and an annual stipend both of which are sponsored by AQUAFACT. 

John studied Zoology to honours level in NUI Galway and was awarded a first class degree by the College. He went on to do a Ph.D. and his chosen topic of study was succession in sublittoral epibenthic communities. He was an avid SCUBA diver and underwater photographer and he used these skills to great extent in the course of his Ph.D. studies. Following completion of his thesis, he won a post-doctoral position to study epibenthic communities in Skidway Institute of Oceanography, Savannah, Georgia and on of mussel rafts in the Galician rias of North Western Spain. Again, his specialist skills of SCUBA diving and underwater photography proved highly valuable in this work.

On returning from Spain in 1986, John set up AQUAFACT, an environmental consultancy company specialising in monitoring and managing marine, freshwater and terrestrial environments. Thirty years later, AQUAFACT is a unique organisation and the longest running marine environmental consultancy in Ireland and has worked in over twenty countries across four continents. Sadly, John passed away in September 2016 at the young age of 59.

Catherine Costelloe, speaking at the launch of the scholarship in memory of her late husband, quotes the Seamus Heaney lines engraved on the sculpture ‘Believe the further shore is reachable from here’.  “John was passionate about his work and we hope that this award will encourage and assist students during their academic life.”

“The John Costelloe Memorial award perpetuates John’s passion to understand, develop, manage and protect the environment. The family and company hope that John’s drive to make the world a safer and sustainable place will inspire future students in their work.”

Dr Heather Lally, lecturer in Freshwater Ecology and Biology, GMIT, says: “I’m delighted we have the opportunity, together with AQUAFACT and John’s family, to recognise the abilities and aptitude of the student who will receive this award. John was a life-long supporter of students and learning and gave tirelessly of his time and energy to students he encountered in his professional life.”

Dr Lisa Ryan, Head of the GMIT Dept of Natural Sciences, says: “The award is a fantastic opportunity and incentive for students in the second year of the Applied Freshwater and Marine Biology programme and will be awarded to the student with the highest mark at the end of the academic year.”