Dominique Mellone '22
In my research of all the different schools that offer marine biology programs, UNE really stood out because you can do research here as an undergrad. I wanted to get into research as soon as possible.
I knew that I wanted to continue on to my Ph.D. eventually, so the 4+1 program effectively allows me to minimize my time between my bachelor’s and my Ph.D. In just five years total, I will leave UNE with both my bachelor’s and my master’s degrees, so it seemed like a good idea. It really is a huge draw of UNE.
[With the 4+1 program] you get involved almost immediately. You really learn a lot from [the professors] both in the classroom and through research. I feel like it's just a really great way to jumpstart your career. You feel professional even as an undergrad, helping these professors with their research.
UNE offers such a unique environment. Everyone is so dedicated. The labs are hands-on even in your first few years. I think it is a really great platform to start your marine science career.
It’s so impressive that in our first year we got to do so many labs and jump immediately into hands-on activities. I feel like at a lot of other schools, you have to wait until senior year to even get into a wet lab and handle fish or like dissect sharks. We've done that. The ability to have a really hands-on experience is my favorite part.
I started working at the MSC during my first year here. [As an undergrad assisting graduate students], my research was around characterizing all of the different fish species that seals have eaten from as far back as our records go, which I think is like 2008 all the way up to around 2018.
Now that I'm in charge of my own project, I'm switching gears to look at the effects of white shark predation on gray seals. I'm now looking at glycol-corticoids, which are the stress hormones present within seal scat. I’m essentially trying to see if the seals that live closer to the huge white shark populations around the Cape have higher stress levels than seals in other locations.