Conserving Marine Life with Sam Pelletier '15

What are you studying at Simmons?

I am majoring in environmental science and minoring in public health.

What made you choose your major?

I chose a major in the biology department because I've always been interested in science -- but I stayed because of my experiences at internships. When I started college I was a biology major and was planning to study infectious disease. In my sophomore year I applied for an internship at SeaWorld Orlando and was offered the position. I spent the next two summers learning about the ocean, marine life, and conservation. I shared that information with kids, teens, and their families and encouraged them to be stewards of the natural world. 

I discovered that I was very passionate about marine science and decided to pursue that career path. I shifted my major to environmental science so I could take courses that would prepare me for a marine science graduate program. More recently I became a research intern at the New England Aquarium and am now working on my senior thesis there. I'm applying what I've learned in the classroom to a research project that will prepare me for graduate-level work.

What's your favorite thing about your program?

That it's interdisciplinary and flexible. I've been able to take a variety of courses that have helped me understand topics in biology from many perspectives. My coursework has challenged me to consider many facets of environmental issues. And I'm able to view them through many lenses.

What made you become the head of the Biology Liaison?

When I joined the Biology Liaison, I was instantly welcomed and given opportunities to contribute. The events hosted by the Liaison helped me connect with faculty, learn more about the department, meet my peers, and give back to the community. I wanted to lead the Liaison so that I could help make those experiences possible for other students and I feel that I've successfully done this for the past three semesters. My experience has come full circle this semester as two new co-presidents have taken charge of the Liaison. As I prepare for graduation, I am helping them adjust to their new positions and I feel confident that they are going to do a great job.

What's the most rewarding part of the Liaison?

What stands out for me is the growth that I've made as a student leader -- experience I didn't have before coming to Simmons. When I first joined the Liaison I was more shy and reserved, but now I'm confident and able to take charge when needed. I used to struggle with delegating tasks but now I feel more comfortable giving directions and asking for help. It's gratifying to know that I've developed new skills and will be able to apply them to new challenges in the future. 

What type of work does the Biology Liaison do?

The Biology Liaison hosts and participates in a variety of events each year. We become more informed about various topics in biology by screening documentaries, taking behind-the-scenes tours of the New England Aquarium, and attending lectures at the Museum of Science. Students can connect with faculty and each other at our annual meet and greet. We give back to the community through volunteer events like the Muddy River Cleanup Project held in April. For students interested in graduate school, we hosted an information session with professors. Our goal is to host events that are informative, fun, and that appeal to students of all majors.

Why should students get involved with the Liaison? How can students get involved?

The Biology Liaison is a great organization to get involved with because we have something for everyone. We're always looking for new ideas and would like to extend our reach to more non-biology majors. 

There are many ways students can get involved. We have weekly meetings -- open to everyone -- on Mondays at 7 p.m. in Quadside to plan activities and discuss current events. If you can’t attend meetings but would still like to be in the loop, you can subscribe to our Facebook page, and receive meeting minutes and information about upcoming events. You can also email us at biology-liaison@simmons.edu to be added to our email list.

Is there a moment you can describe as your "Simmons moment"?

My “Simmons moment” happens almost every time I mention that I'm a student here. Almost everyone I talk to has heard of Simmons and knows someone who went here. They know about the supportive community at this school and the exceptional quality of education that students graduate with. Just mentioning Simmons brings a smile to their face, and those are the moments when I am most grateful for the opportunity to be here.

What's your dream job?

My dream job is one that combines marine science research with conservation education. Less than 5 percent of our oceans have been explored and there is so much we don't know about the places and organisms we have already discovered. Many people are unaware of the terrible things humans are doing to the ocean and its inhabitants. I hope that in the future I will be helping to make new discoveries that I can share with others. I want to educate people about the importance of protecting the ocean.

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