At the University of Delaware College of Marine Studies’ Hugh R. Sharp Campus in Lewes, school has just “kicked into high gear” for a small group of undergraduate students, who arrived from colleges and universities around the country to take part in the college’s annual 10-week summer intern program.
The intern program at the College of Marine Studies is funded primarily by a grant from the National Science Foundation (NSF) through the Research Experiences for Undergraduates’ program. This program provides grants to host institutions as a way to encourage undergraduate students to pursue graduate work in various science and engineering fields. Students are granted stipends and, in many cases, assistance with housing and travel. The College of Marine Studies received its first grant from the NSF in 1987 and now has one of the longest-running summer intern programs of this nature in the nation.
Over the past three years, Ana I. Dittel, a research scientist in marine biology–biochemistry and director of the summer intern program at UD’s College of Marine Studies, has expanded the program to include interns who are supported by sources other than the National Science Foundation.
“I have tried to encourage the integration of NSF and non-NSF supported interns as a step towards promoting the recruitment of students into the various fields of environmental and marine science,” says Dittel. “In particular, I continue to make a special effort to increase the participation of under-represented ethnic groups.”
Throughout the summer, the students will attend various workshops on topics from career paths in the marine sciences to writing scientific papers. The students also discover what it is like to conduct “research at sea” as they participate in three days of marine research aboard the university’s 120-foot research vessel, Cape Henlopen.
The main focus of the intern program, however, is to give each student the opportunity to design and complete an original research project, under the guidance of faculty mentors. These projects are tailored to the interests of the students. Last year, for example, students investigated topics ranging from invasive species in the Delaware Bay to global climate change.
The following students are participating in the summer intern program at the College of Marine Studies with support from the National Science Foundation: Julie Anderson, from Truman State University in Kirksville, Missouri; Abigail Bradley and Erin Colbert, from the University of Delaware; Derek Butcher, from Susquehanna University in Selinsgrove, Pennsylvania; Elizabeth Dukes, from Coastal Carolina University in Conway, South Carolina; Lyndsay Field, from the University of Rochester in Rochester, New York; Emily Harrison, from the University of Wisconsin in Madison; Erin King, from Minnesota State University in Mankato; Amy O’Donnell, from the Rochester Institute of Technology in New York; and Hillary Sletten, from the University of Dayton in Ohio.
Additionally, these students are participating in the summer intern program: Florian Coant, from L’ Ecole Nationale Superieure de Techniques Avancees in Paris, France; Jacek Jarczynski, from Sarah Lawrence College in Bronxville, New York; Melody Jones, from Delaware Technical & Community College in Georgetown; Ogugua Anene-Maidoh, from Lincoln University in Lincoln University, Pennsylvania; Kerrilynn Miller, from the University of Delaware; Lauren Salvitt, from Goucher College in Baltimore; and Dylan Wright, from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Cambridge.
The intern program ends on August 13th with the students giving an oral presentation of their research findings and writing up their results in the form of a scientific report.