Morning Read – June 25

Morning Read

COLLEGE VISIT DAYS SET – The Association of Independent Colleges and Universities of Ohio (AICUO) is proud to announce a state-wide collaboration among Ohio’s private colleges and universities. The historic collaboration is beginning with Independent College Visit Days, a new summer program designed to allow families to visit up to four private schools over two days, July 13 and 14.

Ohio’s Independent College Visit Days are aimed at helping families understand how affordable a private college education can be. The days also highlight other benefits of attending a private college including a higher four-year graduation rate and lower default rate on student loans.

“It is time Ohio students considering college learn what affordable opportunities there are for them at Ohio private colleges,” said AICUO President C. Todd Jones. “The quality of the experience that students have at private universities proves transformational for them. We also know that many families fear they can’t afford a private college education and these visit days will help students in Ohio see that a private college may be the right fit for them”

LAW DIVERSITY SCHOLARSHIPS PRESENTED – The Ohio Association of Civil Trial Attorneys (OACTA) announces the recipients of its 2015 Law Student Diversity Scholarships. These scholarships were open to incoming second and third-year African American, Hispanic, Asian, Pan Asian and Native American students enrolled at Ohio law schools. Incoming second and third-year female law students enrolled at Ohio law schools are also eligible regardless of race or ethnicity. Other criteria for the scholarship included:

Academic achievement in law school;

Professional interest in civil defense practice; and

Service to community and to the cause of diversity.

Three (2) scholarships, each in the amount of $1,250, will be awarded to: Ikechukwu Ekeke, a student at Case Western Reserve University School of Law, and Rujeko Manungo, a student at Capital University Law School. These two students will be recognized at the OACTA Annual Meeting on November 20, 2015 at The Hilton Columbus at Easton in Columbus, Ohio.

TO THE BLUE AND BEYOND – They caught up with and coasted alongside earth’s largest mammals, endangered sea dwellers that can grow up to 100 feet long, have hearts the size of a Volkswagen Beetle and whose lifespans average about a decade shy of a century. It’s therefore no wonder that the blue whale research trip to Mexico, undertaken more than eight years ago by seven students and organized by a biology professor from The University of Findlay, strengthened their interest in nature and changed all of them for the better.

The seven alumni including Susan Young ’07, Lauren Bisson ’08, Tonya Kieffer ’02, Molly (Smith) Niese ’10, M’11, Laura Sass ’07, Bretta Bauman ’07 and Brian Labuhn ’07, are now fanned across the nation and globe. Science and education factor heavily into all of their full and fascinating professional lives.

Young is a senior marine mammal trainer at Florida’s Clearwater Marine Aquarium. “I train bottlenose dolphins, North American river otters and African great white pelicans,” she said. “I also help in the rescue, rehabilitation and release efforts of our organization.” A recent career highlight was training dolphins for and playing a small role in the recent “Dolphin Tale 2” movie that was filmed at the aquarium. It features an all-star cast ranging from Morgan Freeman to Ashley Judd, but it was Young who helped prepare and direct the dolphins, who were the biggest stars of the film.

“I still tell stories about this whale trip,” said Young. She partially credits the experience with helping her to break into her career field. She said it also helped her grasp the importance of ecological data collection and testing.

The UF group, which also included Dwight Moody, Ed.D., now a retired biology professor, was the first from the United States to work with Ecology Project International, a conservation nonprofit that conducts research voyages off the southern coast of Baja California Sur peninsula, in the Sea of Cortez. The area, protected from the dynamic Pacific Ocean to the west, serves as a nursery for blue whales, which give birth to calves that weigh as much as three tons. The species lives all over the world, but its existence is threatened by environmental changes and commercial fishing accidents. Scientists are therefore monitoring populations.

It was the students’ responsibility to spot whales. When they did, they jumped into a small boat, called a panga, approached the animals as closely as they could, and watched as Dr. Jorge Urban, a marine biologist with Autonomous University of Baja California Sur, shot a hollow-tipped arrow into them to extract inch-long plugs of skin and blubber. “It was like a mosquito bite for them. They’re huge, so it really didn’t bother them (whales) much,” said Rife. “It was a rush I cannot explain to see that large of an animal right next to you,” said Young. The sample testing revealed information about each animal’s nutrition, sex and more, and contributed to authentic population and environmental health studies that Urban continues to conduct.

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