Grant for students memorializes two oil spill researchers

The new 'Two Petes' award, honoring the memory of Exxon Valdez oil spill researchers, offers $1,000 to graduate students and $500 to undergraduates.

December 14, 2021

Pete Hagen and Pete Peterson

An new award for undergraduates and graduate students will honor two deceased leading researchers in the field of oil spill recovery.

The Oil Spill Recovery Institute (OSRI) has established the “Two Petes” award in the memory of Pete Hagen and Pete Peterson, both of whom contributed to Exxon Valdez Oil Spill studies, or EVOS. This research topic ranges from assessing the damages caused by the 1989 spill to developing a legacy program across the Gulf of Alaska.

Both researchers passed away in 2020.

About Pete Hagen

As the NOAA liaison to the EVOS Trustee Council, Pete Hagen was a strong proponent for research to understand recovery from oil spills. His tireless efforts guided the development of multi-disciplinary research programs supported by the EVOS Trustee Council and advocated for science that addressed ecological and societal needs, as well as those specific to agency mandates. He played a critical role in the administration of funding to allow research activities to succeed.

About Pete Peterson

Charles “Pete” Peterson was instrumental in shifting the paradigm of looking at the recovery of individual species to examining the recovery of spill-affected communities and ecosystems. He was fundamentally a nearshore ecologist who conducted seminal work on the physical and ecological processes driving coastal biological communities. He was a long-serving member of the EVOS Trustee Council Science Panel where he was able to guide the development of long-term monitoring efforts designed to promote collaboration among researchers of many disciplines and aspects of the Gulf of Alaska ecosystem, ranging from ocean physics to birds, whales, and intertidal organisms.

The Award

In the honor of Pete Hagen and Pete Peterson, a cash award has been established to support students that demonstrate excellence in improving our understanding of factors important to recovery from oil spills in Alaskan waters. A $1,000 award will be given to a graduate-level student and a $500 award to an undergraduate or high school student that demonstrates excellence in studies related to oil spill recovery, ecosystem science, or connecting environmental research to societal benefit within Alaskan waters.

How to Apply

To apply, students must submit a 500 to 1,000–word essay describing how their research interests and activities address the themes above and a nomination letter from a researcher or teacher supporting the student’s application.

Complete applications must be received by February 28, 2022. Applications and questions should be sent electronically to Scott Pegau at The applications will be evaluated, and awards provided directly to the student.