Class of 2014:
Several students graduated with the class of 2014. Alyssa, Sarah, and Yuka all finished their work, Victoria left early to go to vet school. Below are their bios that they wrote as undergrads.
This group of fourth-year students includes fours students that I picked up as advisees after they had taken marine biology from me in the fall. They are a diverse group of students with an equally diverse set of personalities, and I was happy to able to spend time with all of them.
Alyssa Cogen. I am a transfer student from Washington, DC. I chose COA so I could pursue Marine Biology, specifically marine mammal rescue and rehabilitation. I love living and learning by the ocean and I have met many incredible people who are passionate about their studies. In my free time I train for a half-marathon and volunteer at an animal shelter.
Sarah is finishing up a summer in working as an intern for the Third Millennium Alliance in Ecaudor, spending her summer in the tropical forest.
Sarah’s work has ranged from art, including the lead in a school play, to being an active field ecologist and educator. In 2012, she spent the summer on Mount Desert Island as an intern for the Somes-Meynell Sanctuary, working on a variety of projects including loon monitoring, aquatic invasive inspections, alewife restoration, and public outreach. The picture of Sarah was taken in Steve Ressel’s winter ecology class, when the class dug a bear out of a winter den to do some monitoring work with state officials.
Yuka Takemon — Yuka is currently a research assistant in Dr. Ron Korstanje’s lab at the Jackson Lab (November 2014). Here is what she wrote as an undergrad:
I am an international student at COA. I was born in Japan and from an early age I have been on the move with my family from one country/ city to another almost every 2 years. I have lived in Tokyo, Hong Kong, Shen zhen, and Shang hai. My interests in marine biology started during my two years at Li Po Chun Untied World College with Hong Kong’s coral monitoring marine research team. I was surrounded by a bunch of wonderful people and enjoyed every moment I spent underwater collecting data with them.
I have just finished my first year at COA and so far COA has given me many opportunities to pursue my interests in marine biology, cellular & molecular biology, and genetics through the courses they offer. Also, I have further immersed myself marine biology through my work-study at Allied Whale. I am constantly learning new things about marine mammals at work. I have done an internship every summer since I came to COA. After my freshman year, I interned at Penobscot East Resource Center, a non-profit in Stonington Maine, working with the scallop fisheries of Maine. Over the next two summers I worked in molecular biology labs, first at the Mount Desert Island Biological laboratory, and this past summer at the Jackson Laboratory. I’ve also spent substantial time at the Jackson Laboratory working with Dr. Ron Korstanje during the academic year.
At one point during my gap year between graduating high school and entering college, I found myself peering down into a Styrofoam box filled to the brim with half-frozen horse feet in varying stages of neglect. I had been working on a horse ranch in the Canadian Rockies for several months, and the other hoof trimmer at the ranch and I had decided to obtain some byproducts of the local slaughterhouse to hone our stills. I distinctly recall reaching down and grabbing a particularly gnarly looking specimen before exclaiming, “Look, this one foundered! Check out the collapsed capsule. Wow! The white line separation is INTENSE!”
During my time at COA I hope to continue pursuing my interests in biology, with the aim of one day studying large animal medicine at the graduate level. Additionally, I am intrigued by the nature of humans’ interactions with our environment and animals like those horses whose lower-legs I was so fascinated by. What economical, environmental, and moral questions surround an industry like Canada’s multi-million dollar horse slaughter business? Why do some people view wild horses as ‘pests’ fit for dog food while others regard them as part of our heritage? Can research and education change the way people value our natural world and the organisms in it?
Victoria left COA to go directly to veterinary school in Belgium, after first taking some intensive language courses (In Europe, you do not need to complete a Bachelor’s degree to start vet school). She married a Belgium that she met during her gap year, and last I heard she was doing quite well.