Kingwood resident named three-time winner of TOWA Scholarship
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Kingwood resident Matthew S. Abernathy accomplished an unprecedented goal by being named recipient of the same scholarship three consecutive years. The Texas Outdoor Writers Association annually awards the Dan Klepper Memorial Scholarship to one or two currently enrolled college students who plan to pursue communication careers related to the outdoors, environmental conservation, or wildlife management and conservation. Matthew will graduate this May from Texas A&M – Galveston with a Master’s degree in Marine Resource Management. His wife Sheena is a graduate of Sam Houston State University and is a biology instruct at College of the Mainland in Texas City. They are parents of Sam, age 1½. Matthew was awarded the scholarship in 2011, 2012, and 2013. Communication fields include print media, radio, television, and electronic media. The $1500 scholarship is presented to the recipient or recipients at TOWA’s annual conference. Galveston was the site of the 2013 conference. Currently Matthew is the Conservation Programs Outreach Specialist for the Galveston Bay Foundation. “For the foreseeable future, I plan to continue my work with the Foundation, overseeing the oyster restoration projects and expanding the oyster shell recycling program,” said Matt. “I will also continue to assist with other conservation projects with the Foundation and conduct community outreach programs and volunteer events to educate people about Galveston Bay.” Houston’s ABC affiliate Channel 13 TV recently featured the oyster recycling program in a special news segment. Matthew narrated the special, giving the history and purpose of the project. “I feel that I am truly living out my career goals with my job at the Galveston Bay Foundation,” declared Matthew. “No two weeks are ever the same. I may be pulling or planting marsh grass, developing new outreach materials, giving presentation for local organization, or working with local Boy Scouts and students to provide them opportunities not only to learn about the bay but also to get out into the field and see why I am so passionate about my job.” Incidentally, Matthew is an Eagle Scout. The Texas Outdoor Writers Association is a statewide group of professional communicators dedicated to improving skills in the written and spoken word, radio and television, photography, illustration, and electronic media. Members of TOWA are dedicated to enlightening audiences on the importance of Texas’ natural heritage while promoting its appreciation, enjoyment and conservation. David Sikes, president of TOWA and newspaper correspondent for the Corpus Christi Caller-Times, said, “The scholarship is given to support and encourage the next generation of communicators. More information about TOWA can be found at towa.org.” Matthew has authored numerous articles in various publications including the Texas Parks and Wildlife magazine. His feature story was on the Ridley’s turtles. Now an active member of Texas Outdoor Writers Association, Matthew is currently in New Member Recruitment. A 1999 graduate of Kingwood High School, Matthew attended Lone Star College and Galveston College before earning a Batchelor’s degree from Texas A&M Galveston.