Record-breaking summer of student mentoring underway


The last week of May kicked-off Bigelow Laboratory’s summer education programs with the arrival of sixteen Maine high school juniors as part of the Keller BLOOM (Bigelow Laboratory Orders of Magnitude) program. The students, who represented each county in Maine, worked side-by-side with Bigelow Laboratory scientists, first collecting samples on a research cruise in the Sheepscot River, then conducting experiments, and learning how to analyze results. This year marked the 27th year that the program that has been bringing students from all across Maine to East Boothbay to learn about the ocean that is so vital to our lives. They gained skills and an understanding of what it is like to be a research scientist at a world-class research facility.

Thanks to an anonymous donor this year, the program expanded its scope by adding an additional sixth day. This allowed the opportunity for students to spend extra time analyzing their results and thinking more deeply about the connections between different ocean processes. Drs. Nicole Poulton and David Fields led the program. “We are delighted to be able to share our research work and passion for the ocean with a group of amazing students who truly enjoy science,” Poulton explains. “The students take home an appreciation for how much is known and yet to be discovered in the ocean. We, as scientists, end the program with a renewed energy provided by the students’ endless curiosity and excitement about our research here and learning more about the ocean. It’s a winning combination for everyone involved.”

Following the week of the Keller BLOOM program, summer undergraduate interns arrived at the Laboratory. This year Bigelow Laboratory is hosting a record 27 undergraduate interns. They represent 20 different colleges and universities around the country and Puerto Rico. Their topics of study at the Laboratory will range from trace metals, to metagenomics, to virus ecology, and to marine microbes in the Arctic and the Gulf of Mexico. The interns are also learning Science Communications and Information Technology with us this summer.

Ten of the summer interns are participants in the Research Experience for Undergraduates (REU) program funded by the National Science Foundation. Bigelow Laboratory's REU program is one of just 30 ocean science programs in the country and the only such program in Maine. A very competitive program, roughly 250 applications were received for the 10 intern spots this year.

Follow Bigelow Laboratory summer interns' experiences as they gain insights and learn new skills this summer on the Students of Bigelow blog here.

Photo: The interns in Dr. David Fields' lab celebrated World Ocean Day on June 8, 2016 by counting and raising thousands of lobster larvae that hatched that morning. (Credit: Jes Waller)