University of Delaware
TIDE Campers explore the Delaware Bay from aboard CEOE’s newest research vessel, the R/V Joanne Daiber.


High school students participate in CEOE's summer camp


10:23 a.m., Aug. 20, 2014--Emalee Short has always had a passion for animals. Ever since she was young, she has been interested in studying marine life. However, it was quite difficult for her to gain experiences in the field from her home in McDowell County, West Virginia, so she was very excited when she learned about TIDE (Taking Interest in Delaware’s Estuaries) Camp at the University of Delaware.

“I wanted to come here so I could learn about marine biology and see the animals for myself,” Short said.

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As it neared time for the processional to open the University of Delaware Commencement ceremonies, graduating students and faculty members shared their feelings about what the event means to them.

Doctoral hooding

It was a day of triumph, cheers and collective relief as more than 160 students from 21 nations participated in the University of Delaware's Doctoral Hooding Convocation held Friday morning on The Green.

TIDE Camp, operated by the College of Earth, Ocean, and Environment, began as a small lecture series in 2008 as a part of the FAME program, a separate camp in UD’s College of Engineering. 

The program then expanded into a full-blown pre-college program for high school sophomores, juniors and seniors. The camp provides students with a two-week long overnight immersion into marine science.

Frank Newton, CEOE assistant dean and TIDE Camp program director alongside Dana Veron, associate professor of geography, work to ensure that participating students receive a comprehensive view of all aspects of marine science. 

The goal is that by the end of the two weeks, the students will have an idea of the different areas of study in the field. This process helps students determine whether or not this career path is right for them.

“Students in high school get exposed to biological concepts but not other aspects of ocean science, so we wanted to give them a more well-rounded understanding of what is encompassed in marine science,” Newton said.

Interested high school students applied for the 2014 program in mid-March, and roughly 15-20 students from around the country were chosen for the two-week long program in mid-July. 

While attending the camp, the campers had a number of educational lectures given by CEOE faculty, trips, fieldwork experiences and seminars about majors and career options in marine sciences. 

Each lecture and experience in a given subject was presented by an expert in that field so that students could get a deeper understanding of each topic over the course of the camp.

The first week of camp was spent at UD’s main campus in Newark. The students stayed in residence halls and attended lectures exploring topics ranging from ocean circulation and waves to estuary types and beach replenishment.

They were also given a project -- to design and build a fully functional remotely operated vehicle (ROV) over the course of the week. Art Trembanis, associate professor in the School of Marine Science and Policy, oversaw the design and construction of the ROVs, and at the end of the week the robots were tested in UD’s indoor pool. 

The campers also went on excursions to the National Aquarium in Baltimore and the Stroud Water Research Center in Avondale, Pennsylvania.

During the second week, the students relocated to the Virden Conference Center at the Hugh R. Sharp Campus in Lewes. There, the camp turned toward more biological and field-based learning experiences. 

This year, the students were taken on a kayak tour of the Delaware coast, a beach seining trip with Ron Kernehan, a trawling trip with CEOE faculty member Joanna York and a marsh walk with CEOE faculty member Doug Miller. 

The lectures continued, as well, with talks on beach erosion and wind power. There were also several talks given by Chris Petrone, Delaware Sea Grant’s education specialist, on potential marine careers.

The two camp counselors this year, Marissa Berlant and Dave Hitchings, both CEOE students, helped Newton and Veron make sure the camp ran smoothly. Having current UD students as counselors is just yet another benefit to rising college students interested in the same area of study.

As camper Shailja Gangrade, a rising senior from Hockessin, Delaware, wrote in her personal blog, “This camp taught me what marine science is really all about. It also cushioned any doubts I had about marine science as a major in college, and it showed me that my education should also span beyond marine science.”

For the faculty and staff, it is a way to spark young scientists’ interest in their research and to teach the next generation about marine science in an intimate environment. For parents of campers, it is a way to ensure that their child understands what their intended career path entails.

A parent of a previous camper wrote, “After two weeks, she had a renewed interest and a clearer outlook of what she could be doing for her future. This was exactly my hope for her.” 

The TIDE Campers for 2014 were: Eshani Avasthi, Sonja Bayer, Brooke Cherry, Rose Davis, Brenda Dluhy, Shailja Gangrade, Jillian Hayden, Caleb Hufnell, Rebeka Seymour, Emalee Short, Michael Tritsch and Madison Wunsch.

For more information on TIDE Camp, visit the TIDE Camp website or the TIDE Camp 2014 blog. Additional photos are available on the CEOE Facebook page

Article by Eadoh Reshef

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