Even in high school, Ryan Cope knew the University of Maine had a great Marine Sciences program.
But when the Honeoye, N.Y., native arrived on campus, it exceeded all of her expectations.
“We’ve learned all aspects of oceanography,” says Cope, who has worked in Laurie Connell’s lab studying red tide in softshell clams and microbes in Antarctic soil and is an undergraduate teaching assistant in professor Mary Jane Perry’s lab. “It’s a small major, so we can really get to know faculty. That’s really awesome, especially on a campus this size.”
One of the highlights of her UMaine experience has been Semester by the Sea, a residential program for juniors and seniors at the Darling Marine Center. It is a small, field-work-intensive experience in which students learn more about the organisms, habitat and history of the Gulf of Maine.
“You’re right by the ocean so you can actually see what you’ve been learning about in the classroom and then apply it,” Cope says. “Semester by the Sea helped us integrate all that we’ve learned from three years of classroom teaching and apply it to real-world scenarios. From this, we were able to learn more about ourselves and what we wanted to do after graduation. It was one of those life-changing experiences.
Image Description: Ryan Cope