Initially, the program required Orozco to balance classes at Lake Forest College with her research at the Shedd. The trip portion of the program, however, placed her in charge of more hands-on responsibilities. Orozco explains her duties on the trip, saying that he was required to “keep up the daily log (boat coordinates, wind speed, temperature of water, locations of the day), help the chef prepare meals, set the tables, and keep an updated field journal of the various types of fish observed in our daily snorkels” and more.
Rebecca Gericke, manager of conservation and research programs at the Chicago aquarium, and Dr. Kristine Stump, a postdoctoral research associate, acted as mentors to students involved in the program. Under their instruction, Orozco and others were given a chance to directly apply what they learned during the in-class portion of the program to hands-on marine biology research in the field.
Orozco, international relations major and communication minor, discovered this exciting opportunity through an e-mail from Ashley Sinclair, director of off-campus programs at Lake Forest College. Though the program did not directly pertain to her post-graduate goal of becoming a U.S. diplomat, Orozco pursued it anyway, viewing it as an opportunity to learn something new and work with top Chicago-area researchers.
Orozco developed more than an impressive addition to her resume during the program. She also got the chance to work closely with other dedicated students and researchers and to work on her communication and people skills. On the program’s benefits, Orozco says, “…living with ten people in close quarters for nine days has definitely helped enhance my people skills and appreciation for communicating and sharing experiences.”
While Orozco did not spend her summer working in the political or communications fields, her participation in the Shedd’s program gave her access to an unforgettable research experience. After getting the chance to do research out of the country, Orozco reports that she made her first trip to Europe, where she explored, as well.
—Story by Asha Walker ’15