In January, President Obama recognized Nathaniel “Than” Hitt (’07 Ph.D. fisheries and wildlife sciences) as one of 102 scientists and researchers to earn the Presidential Early Career Award, the highest award that the government gives to independent researchers in their early careers.

Hitt is a research fish biologist for the U.S. Geological Survey at the Leetown Science Center in West Virginia. His current research focuses on climate change ecology from both physical and biotic perspectives. He is developing landscape models to predict where streams will be resilient to air temperature change, and investigating local adaptation to heat stress in native brook trout.

“I hope my research helps inform biological conservation and restoration planning in the Appalachian region,” he said. “It’s an honor to be selected by the Obama administration for this award, particularly among such brilliant colleagues within the federal science corps.”

Professor Paul Angermeier, Hitt’s advisor, said, “Than is passionate about fish ecology and developing the scientific knowledge needed to advance fish conservation. Even as a grad student, he excelled at formulating timely research questions and hypotheses, then designing studies to address them. He also had a clear vision of his long-term career path and how to assemble the skills and experiences needed to meet his career goals. This attitude persists in his work today.”