By Justin Grass/ reporter
Students can embark on a biological and geological field study in the Hawaiian Islands this summer.
They will use all five senses as they take hikes through mountain forests and collect on coral reefs while exploring the basic concepts of science, a professor said.
“The biggest advantage that students gain from the field study is the experience of being out in the field,” NE geology professor Meena Balakrishnan said. “You really have the opportunity to become a part of this community and the opportunity to build lifelong relationships.”
Although the program has existed for 30 years, this will be its sixth year at TCC, she said.
“I’ve had many, many students tell me that it changed the way they view the world,” NE biology adjunct instructor Michael Huddleston said. “If they’re exposed to other cultures, it can be a life-changing experience.”
The trip starts June 8 and ends June 21. Weekend pre-trip classes begin March 26 and end June 3.
Depending on a student’s major, this trip may satisfy major or lab requirements and is transferrable to most universities. Students can earn up to 12 credit hours in geology and biology.
“I came to TCC to take a variety of classes because I was unsure of what I wanted to do for the rest of my life,” NE student May Beth Shepard said. “I took oceanography and fell in love with geology, thanks to Dr. Balakrishnan. My next step was the Hawaii field studies course.”
Shepard earned credits in biology, botany and geology while studying in the Hawaiian Islands.
“It was the most amazing experience any student could hope for,” Shepard said. “Experiencing the labs out in the field aids in committing the knowledge gained to your memory. The ability to visit all of the different climates on earth, except arctic, was also an amazing experience. Because of my experience, I went from a possible English or business major to a biology major and have never questioned the decision.”
The cost of the trip is $3,275 to $3,400, not including meals, and requires a $500 deposit. Students can work with the event organizers on payment plans that suit their needs.
Students who may not have the funding at their disposal but have interest in going can explore scholarship opportunities provided by field study alumni.
“Students have come through this program and realized the impact that it’s had on their lives and careers and wanted to give back,” Balakrishnan said.
To register for the trip, students should contact Balakrishnan at 817-515-6360 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Balakrishnan recommended that interested students contact her before March 20.