From May 23 through July 1 on the campus of Virginia Wesleyan University, there will be a Marine Science Summer Program for any student majoring in Biology, Marine Biology, Earth and Environmental Science/Studies or General Science.
The six-week program offers different credit courses such as BIO 319 Field Studies in Coastal Marine Environments, EES 200 Oceanography, BIO 489 Undergraduate Research and PE 145 Beginning Scuba Diving. The inaugural program will be led by Professor of Marine Biology and Supervisor of the Greer Center Aquatics Lab and Ocean Explorer, Dr. Soraya Bartol.
In the Coastal Marine Environments class, students will be able to pair ecological principles with field observations and data collection to understand the coastal environment through lectures, primary literature discussions and field trips. The Oceanography course, which has daily morning class lectures followed by afternoon laboratory and field excursions, explores the geology of the ocean basins and the physical and chemical nature of seawater. The Undergraduate Research course offers students the opportunity to conduct original scientific research in an area of marine biology. The last class in the program, Scuba Diving, offers students to be able to get certified in open water scuba diving and learn how to dive.
On the VWU website, the program’s mission said, “The Marine Science Summer Program at Virginia Wesleyan University (VWU) will engage students in scientific discovery through exposure to marine ecosystems and their organismal inhabitants, providing them with a better understanding of current marine issues on a local and global scale.” Students may apply for the course on the VWU website.
Dr. Bartol will be leading the Science Program for the first time this summer.
When asked about the purpose of the summer program, Dr. Bartol said, “We hope to engage students in scientific discovery through exposure to marine ecosystems and their organismal inhabitants and to provide students with a better understanding of current marine issues on a local and global scale.”
When Dr. Bartol was asked about what experience students would earn from the program, she said, “In my course, BIO 319 Field Studies in Coastal Environments, students will spend much of the day in the field, learning while doing… for example, we will be going out in the VWU Ocean Explorer, a 40 ft research vessel, to photo identify bottlenose dolphin pods, travel to Wachapreague, Va., to pull a trawl net in coastal salt marshes and explore the dunes of Back Bay National Wildlife Refuge.”
When asked about what sea organisms Dr. Bartol is looking forward to most in the program, she said, “My favorite animal is actually the sea turtle, in particular, the loggerhead sea turtle (Caretta caretta). Loggerheads migrate to the Chesapeake Bay each summer by the thousands as juveniles to feed on benthic crabs, making the Chesapeake Bay an important nursery ground for this threatened species.”
For those who would like to join the program and “Explore the Chesapeake Bay and Atlantic Ocean aboard the Ocean Explorer,” as the information posters say, you can learn more about it on the VWU website or you can contact Dr. Bartol for more information. The total cost of the 11-credit program with on-campus housing is $5,831. This is a sizable discount from the standard per credit hour rate of $1,500.
By Joseph Cooper