This past summer of 2014, the natural sciences department extended its classroom walls into the coral reefs of Bermuda. Junior Alison Palmer, a coastal environmental science major, joined other science students under Professors Blonder and Seron for a study abroad to the island to collect, interpret, analyze, and present research on coral reef and oceanic island ecosystems.
“Flagler College has brought me out of my comfort zone in what I've chosen to study,” she says, and it’s no surprise considering she received training in evaluating, practicing, and critiquing oceanic environments while in Bermuda. Palmer and her classmates engaged in underwater research that not only established baseline-monitoring locations for future Flagler students but added to the pre-existing body of research on Bermuda's ecosystems.
Palmer admits that her research experience was difficult but also unbelievable. "We were doing real research alongside other scientists every day" she explains.
Beyond the sea, Palmer is a student ambassador for Flagler College and president of Club Unity; however, her passion is in oceanography, which she plans on pursuing after graduation. "Working in Bermuda has given me a headstart in collecting data underwater and looking at the health of the reefs of the ocean," she says. "Working with everyone and collecting data cemented in my mind that this is what I want to study and want to devote my life to studying."