Amanda Colton, '09
I chose the University of New England because I felt that it had the most to offer in the field of marine biology. The Marine Science Center really swayed my decision to attend. The Marine Science Center allows students to have hands-on experiences right from the beginning of freshman year...these experiences have given me a head start in preparing for my future.
I also liked the general atmosphere of the campus. It is small, but not too small. The classes are the perfect size so you don't feel like a number, and can actually develop relationships with your professors. I also like the variety of extracurricular activities available to students so that no matter what you are interested in you can get involved. Now that I have graduated, I have to say that I made the right choice.
The best part of my UNE experience was the connections I developed. I have gained three faculty mentors who I will probably be in contact with for the rest of my career. All three have been instrumental in impacting where I am now and have helped me determine where I want to be in the future. I have also made many friends both in and outside of my field and without them my college experience wouldn't have been half as wonderful as it was.
After my sophomore year, I had an internship with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s Lower Great Lakes Regional Office where I helped with surveys on the Great Lakes and Erie Canal and also conducted a stomach analysis looking for an invasive shrimp. This internship changed the course of my study, as I realized I was more interested in fisheries than mammals.
After junior year, I spent the summer as an intern for NOAA Alaska Fisheries Science Center in Newport, Oregon, where I was responsible for my own research project looking at foraging behavior in larval Pacific cod and walleye pollock. This internship solidified my decision to go to graduate school as I realized that I absolutely loved conducting research.
During my senior year I worked in a physiology lab looking at stress markers in rock crabs when exposed to thermal and hypoxia stress. This gave me a different outlook on research, as the techniques were much more precise than the behavioral work I did in Oregon. Working in a lab for a full academic year was a great experience and I think it prepared me for where I am today.