North Yarmouth Academy is new education partner

06-29-2015

DSC03064.jpg North Yarmouth Academy (NYA) and Bigelow Laboratory for Ocean Sciences announced a new innovative partnership modeled after the Laboratory's Keller-BLOOM (Bigelow Laboratory Orders of Magnitude) program for public high school students in Maine. For 26 years, Bigelow Laboratory has offered a one-week course to public school students, offering students the opportunity to go out on the water for a full day of oceanographic field work followed by several days of serious scientific research culminating in a formal presentation. Through this new partnership, NYA will now offer a similar program to its students beginning this fall.

The program for NYA will be open to advanced sophomores, juniors, and seniors via a short application process. Up to 16 students will spend five days and four nights at the Bigelow Laboratory's ocean science and education campus as part of a real-life marine research experience that will take them from the grant proposal phase through data collection, analysis, and public presentation. Essentially, a three or four year (or more) process for scientists will be condensed into five days so students will gain a real life understanding of what it means to be a scientist in this field. The first day will begin in the afternoon and introduce students to the program. On day two, students will be on board a boat collecting marine samples from the Sheepscot River. On days three and four, students will analyze the collected samples using state-of-the-art techniques and instrumentation guided by field researchers. The class will become a research team, divided into several small groups to study various aspects of the data collected that may include everything from phytoplankton, zooplankton, pigments, nutrients, bacteria, to marine viruses. On day five, students will present their findings to the Bigelow Laboratory personnel, family, and members of the NYA community.

"This partnership offers an extraordinary opportunity for students at NYA to participate in authentic marine science research in a state-of-the-art facility right in our backyard. Our students will experience how a marine scientist works, from data collection, to data analysis and synthesis, and public presentation of results. The demands of an education in science have grown almost exponentially in the recent past. This early exposure to real science in the field and in the lab will prove invaluable to those who choose to study science in college. To have this experience under the tutelage of and alongside those in the field will be truly inspiring. We look forward to greater collaboration with Bigelow Laboratory in the future," said Interim Head of School John Drisko.

"We are delighted to be offering our unique hands-on learning experience to North Yarmouth Academy students," said Dr. Nicole Poulton, who has co-led the program for over a decade. "Students have the opportunity to gain real insight about what life is like as a research scientist so they are better able to decide if it is a path for them. And as scientists, we are re-energized by the students' endless curiosity and excitement about learning more about the ocean, science, and what it takes to be a scientist. It's a winning combination for everyone involved."

North Yarmouth Academy is an independent, college preparatory, coeducational school serving toddlers to students in grade twelve. Since 1814, NYA has fostered integrity, character and intellect in its students. For more information, please contact NYA at 207-847-5423 or visit our website at [140]nya.org.

Image from left: John Drisko, NYA Interim Head of School, Graham Shimmield, Executive Director of Bigelow Laboratory, Nicole Poulton, Research Scientist at Bigelow Laboratory, and Steve Bachelder, NYA Board of Trustees President.