Biology Students Research in Saipan
Clover Cheng | University Relations | 26 July 2012
Dr. Roger Goodwill, professor in the Biology department, led 10 students to Saipan for field study from June 9 to July 2, 2012. The trip was made with the purpose of exposing students to practical experience, to gain an understanding of what field biologists do, and to gain research experience for their resumes.
The field study included scuba diving, snorkeling and reef walking to collect sea animals to be preserved as laboratory specimens. Students set up a makeshift workshop using microscopes and preservation solutions. After the specimens were made, they were shipped back to Hawaii to be identified by students in a campus lab. Noting that the work does not end in Saipan, Goodwill said, "We were there for three weeks, but the work continues long after."
Besides working in the field, students also participated in three NOAA (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration) meetings where the topics of discussion included preservation of endangered coral, whale diversity, and sharks. "While we were there, we took advantage of our surroundings," said Goodwill. "We want students to experience more than biology field work - we want them to meet professional people. We want to help students to build their network."
They also visited a WWII battlefield in Saipan, learning some of the history and the culture of the island. Goodwill advised biology and biochemistry students who are interested in participating in future field studies that "the easiest way is to become involved in the mentored research program – teachers can get to know you." For this field study, students were picked from the marine biology group and student workers in the Museum of Natural History. He reminded students to participate with a cooperative attitude. "We prefer good team players," he said.
Stephanie Chan, a junior majoring in biology from Hong Kong, was one of the students who went on the field study trip. "This Saipan experience helped me understand more about what a professional researcher does," she said. "I strongly recommend other students prepare to participate in future field trips by working and studying hard so they can have the opportunity as well."
The next biology field study trip will be in November 2012 to the Big Island and Kwajalein in the Marshall Islands, and will focus on the study of birds.