Laura: A future teacher experiences marine research

I'm Laura Losmozos, and I’m now entering my senior undergraduate year at UC Davis. I’m pursuing a major in geology and a minor in education. My prospective career path has been shifting in my mind for a while, although I’ve always loved science and learning about the natural world. I took my first MAST course last year, Teaching High School Mathematics and Science, and had the opportunity to intern in Mr. Barne’s Earth Science classroom at Winters High. The experience has greatly piqued my interest in becoming a science teacher.

When I become a teacher... I’ll be sure to inject some ocean appreciation into my classroom.

The MAST (Math and Science Teaching) program was created to address California’s need for quality educators in STEM subjects. MAST connects students, like myself, to the wonderful world of education through classes and hands-on internships. I was so fortunate to receive a MAST Fellowship that allowed to me to study at Bodega Marine Laboratory this summer. Hands down, it has been one of the best educational experiences of my life.

I first heard about Bodega Marine Laboratory (BML) my freshman year from some very enthusiastic BMLers from the SEEDS Ecology Club. My second year, I toured the facilities with my Sedimentology and Stratigraphy class; what a marine science wonderland! As a child, I spent summers searching for coastal critters on rocky jetties and dreamed of being a marine biologist. Needless to say, I was pretty ecstatic to become a BMLer myself.

For the first time, I really felt like a scientist.
 Laura at Bodega Marine Lab this summer

Laura at Bodega Marine Lab this summer

This summer, I took classes at BMLExperimental Invertebrate Biology, Coastal Marine Research, Global Change Ecology and Marine Environmental Issues. The classes included a great combination of lectures, labs, discussions, field trips, and hands-on research projects. I completed a research project on The effects of body size and group density on phytoplankton clearance rates of the mussel Mytilus californianus. There is ongoing research on how filter-feeders like mussels and oysters might improve water quality by clearing out particulate matter. My awesome research partner, Arnie Shah, and I wanted to explore different patterns for efficient phytoplankton filter-feeding in the local mussel. I’ve worked as a lab tech for over a year, but this was my first time planning out and implementing my own project. It was a supremely creative endeavor. We delved into scientific literature, collected our organisms, designed our experimental set-ups, and learned through trial and error. We also grew quite weary of counting phytoplankton cells on the hemocytometer. For the first time, I really felt like a scientist.

While the scenic views are a plus, the best part about BML is the people who make it great. My professors and TAs (Eric Sanford, Tessa Hill, Brian Gaylord, Erin Satterthwaite, Josh Chow) were so incredibly knowledgeable, helpful, and supportive in our classroom discussions and activities. I’d like to sincerely thank everyone for the amazing experience I’ve had at BML, and to the MAST program for making it possible. I really could go on and on about the experience and how valuable it was to me. This Fall I’ll be working with Tessa and other MAST students on designing a curriculum based on real marine research data. Hopefully, we can spark student interest in ocean and climate science! When I become a teacher, whether I teach Earth Science, Biology, Physics or Chemistry, I’ll be sure to inject some ocean appreciation into my classroom.

~Laura Losmozos, August 2016

 

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