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Orth to be honored as Virginia Outstanding Scientist

It’s funny how a simple twist of fate can make such a big difference in a person’s life.

When he was an undergraduate student, Dr. Robert “JJ” Orth had already been rejected by several grad schools and was just about to give up on his plans for a career in science and enlist in the Navy when a call to the Virginia Institute of Science changed his life.

Tonight, Orth—an expert in seagrass biology at VIMS—will be honored as one of three Virginia Outstanding Scientists for 2018 by Gov. Ralph Northam as part of the Outstanding STEM Awards.

Orth’s path began in college when he was a sophomore studying biology at Rutgers. His father introduced him to a then up-and-coming field called oceanography.

Orth spoke of how life’s “small turns” have led to major career moments. After completing his bachelor’s degree, he applied to seven graduate schools … and was rejected by each.

He weighed his options and was considering ...

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