Dustin Bowser (right) chats with conservation journalist Jeff Corwin.
Tom Popik with one of his research subjects
While the typical reaction to a shark in the water is fear, two BGSU students spent their days this summer swimming with the fish. As part of their marine biology field experience class, fourth-year students Tom Popik, from Bedford Heights, and Dustin Bowser, from Perrysburg, had the chance to experience shark-tagging trips at the Gulf Coast Marine Lab in Ocean Springs, Miss.
In a once-in-a-lifetime experience, the students got to study the sharks on a face-to-face basis. "The best part was getting to see the sharks in the water instead of as a preserved specimen," Popik said. "Being able to experience field work was another exciting part of the tagging experience."
Sam Clardy, Summer Field Program coordinator for the Gulf Coast Research Laboratory (GCRL), pointed out the rewards of being in the program. "The Summer Field Program provides students from across the country a unique opportunity to gain hands-on and field experience in the coastal environment."
The students were included in a news segment on MSNBC about shark tagging that featured their shark-biology class teacher, biologist Eric Hoffmayer. The news program discussed how tagging the sharks will help measure any impact of the Gulf oil spill on them.
The students were especially happy to meet host Jeff Corwin, who is a regular on Animal Planet and works for the conservation of endangered species and ecosystems around the world.
"Meeting Jeff Corwin was amazing since I used to watch his shows," Popik said. "He was kind and loved sharing his experiences with us."
In addition to shark tagging, the students encountered some of the environmental effects of the Gulf Coast oil spill. "We saw tar balls that had been dispersed into the water column and had been weathered." Popik wrote in an e-mail. "The school is watching the reports as well as the beaches to keep all of the students out of harm's way."
"These types of experiences have a tremendous influence on the career paths that they may pursue," Clardy said. "We often have students return to GCRL to enter in our graduate program provided through the Department of Coastal Sciences, so it is easy to see the positive impact the program has on the participating students."
BGSU has named an interim Chief Information Officer (CIO). John Ellinger will begin his two-year appointment Sept. 1.
Ellinger comes to the University from Ohio State University, where he served as the senior director of the Office of Information Technology. His extensive background includes the implementation of software for administrative systems at the largest university in the United States, leadership of the first statewide Disaster Recovery Program for the 14 Ohio public universities, and co-leadership in the implementation of the wireless domain at OSU, the second largest in the U.S.
"I'm delighted to be a part of the BGSU family," Ellinger said. "I look forward to creating an environment that makes technology accessible to students and faculty, as well as the opportunity to show students how to use this technology in their future careers."
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