Schoodic Experience 2012

Perhaps the most beloved start-of-the-year tradition at SBE is the Schoodic Experience for first year students as an introduction to SBE coursework. This year went just as well as the last, with many students having gained skills, experience, and even peace of mind during the three days on the trip.  The goals of the trip are to provide undergraduates with the opportunity to make friends before school starts, to get to know SBE faculty, gain a sense of the biology community and learn about research and study topics.

The trip takes place at the Schoodic Education and Research Center located on the coast of Maine as part of Acadia National Park. Every year there are different workshops and lectures by members of faculty. This year there included a data analysis lecture by Dr. Michelle Smith, a visual experiment demonstration by Dr. Leonard Kass, an insect identification walk by Andrei Alyokhin, a bird identification walk by Dr. Brian Olsen, and an intertidal pool walk by Dr. Seth Tyler. While not attending workshops, students enjoyed sports activities, games, and evening movies. The students stayed in a bunkhouse and ate meals at the Schooner Club.

Biology Professor Brian Olsen said the trip was spectacular this year. “It’s great to find out why biology excites them, allay some beginning jitters about starting a rigorous academic program, and have fun observing Maine coastal life,” he said.

The students also thought it helped them get adjusted with school. “I thought it was a great thing because you get to meet all the professors and classmates,” said first year biology student James Wiesner, who found the insect walk particularly interesting. “The professors and grad students inspired me to work with them in the future.”

Another first year biology student, Matthew Fern, said the Schoodic trip made him feel more comfortable starting classes. “I had a blast,” he said. “It was relaxed but we also did activities to use knowledge. I would definitely recommend Schoodic to any incoming freshman.”

Biology Professor Michelle Smith, teacher of the NFA 117 class that is part of Schoodic, notices a difference in her students as a result of the trip. “They have really bonded. Because these students know each other so well, they’re not afraid to ask questions and use their peers to solve problems,” she said.  Any questions about Schoodic can be directed to Farahad Dastoor,