Ryan Saba Memorial Student Fellowship

The Horn Point Laboratory (HPL) awarded the 9th Ryan Saba Memorial Student Fellowship to Bruna Sobrinho a 5th year PhD student.  The $3,000 award is presented annually to support a HPL graduate student in the pursuit of their professional goals and dreams in the field of environmental science.  The fellowship was created by Ryan Saba’s family and friends to honor and remember Ryan who was a research assistant at the Horn Point Laboratory beginning in the fall of 2013.

Bruna grew up in a small town in Brazil and fell in love with the ocean as a little girl. She realized this passion early on in her undergraduate studies in Brazil. Bruna studies phytoplankton, microscopic plant-like organisms which are key components to ocean and freshwater ecosystems.  Since her first contact with phytoplankton, Bruna has been enchanted by their beauty and their importance for the health of the planet. She is pursuing her PhD studying under Professor Pat Glibert and has spent extensive time studying red tide in the Gulf of Mexico.

Bruna Sobrinho accepts the 9th annual Ryan Saba Memorial Student Fellowship award with (right to left) 2022 recipient, Catherine Fitzgerald, Ryan’s parents Ellen Musante and Kevin Saba and one of Ryan’s half-brothers, Reed. Photograph courtesy of Carin Starr.

The Fellowship’s award will allow Bruna to attend the 20th International Conference on Harmful Algae (ICHA) which will be held in Hiroshima, Japan in November 2023.  Bruna shared, “This conference will be extremely important not only for my professional career, as it brings together the world’s leading experts on harmful algae, but also for my personal life, as it will allow me to meet people from different cultures and visit another country. Further, it is a privilege to receive the Ryan Saba Fellowship this year and honor a person so dear to his family and community at the Horn Point Laboratory.”

The annual awarding of the Fellowship honors Ryan’s boundless curiosity about nature and life and his zest for making each day better than yesterday. Ryan died tragically in an automobile accident near the campus on July 13, 2014. He was well regarded by the Horn Point community as a friend and colleague.  His family and friends have funded this scholarship to carry forward Ryan’s optimistic world view by supporting a Horn Point student to fulfill his or her career goals and dreams for an environmentally healthy planet.

This year’s award presentation was shared in person at the Lab and virtually. Ryan’s parents and family members joined the Horn Point community at the lab and others joined virtually from across the country.  Past fellows shared updates on what they are doing professionally in their careers and how their Saba Fellowship continues to inspire them.


The University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science leads the way toward better management of Maryland’s natural resources and the protection and restoration of the Chesapeake Bay. From a network of laboratories located across the state, UMCES scientists provide sound advice to help state and national leaders manage the environment, and prepare future scientists to meet the global challenges of the 21st century. www.umces.edu

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