12 Students Study at the Marine Biological Laboratory in Woods Hole, Mass.
12 Students Study at the Marine Biological Laboratory in Woods Hole, Mass.

Twelve students, five days, one mission: experience a biology curriculum in ways no other high school students are currently experiencing.

During Intensives this year, 12 St. Anne's-Belfield School students traveled to Woods Hole, Mass. to study at the Marine Biological Laboratory (MBL), an affiliate of the University of Chicago. Students took part in and helped plan an on-site high school biology program where they got hands-on experience in many areas of study.

During their trip, students participated daily in the lab and in the field, collecting water and organism specimens and then analyzing them. The group spent the week studying a wide variety of topics, tackling different projects like mutating Xenopus (frog) DNA, DNA sequencing, imaging, examining the wings of butterflies, studying the camouflage of cephalopods, and more.

"It was an experience we'll never get again in our high school career," said Isabel Franks '19.

"A lot of students said that now they know what they want to study after they graduate. They learned about subjects they didn't really know about before," said co-Intensive leader and Upper School science teacher Andrea Beardsley.

Students also benefited from working with the dedicated team of scientists on-site, including the lab's director, Dr. Nipam Patel, who worked with the group every day.

"The director of MBL worked with the students throughout the whole week. He gave them so much of his time," noted Beardsley.

As called by the students, this "intense" Intensive, saw the group studying for nearly 12 hours each day, packing as much learning as they could into their week.

"Our days were so full, there was never a moment that was boring," said Alex Greer '19.

The School accepted the invitation to partner with MBL earlier this year, one of only a handful of schools across the nation to receive such an invitation. This experience will also contribute to the School's on-going relationship with the University of Virginia's (U.Va.) Department of Biology, specifically the work of Dr. Sarah Kucenas, recent winner of the prestigious NINDS Landis Award for Outstanding Mentorship. Dr. Kucenas is using zebrafish as a model for human neurological development, disease, and injury. The students visited U.Va. prior to traveling to MBL, where they bred zebrafish, injected their embryos, and viewed them under the microscope. The School is looking into ways to continue the research these students started on and off campus.

More photos from this year's Intensives are available on the School SmugMug account.

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