Budding Scientists are Making Waves

Associate Northeastern students dive headfirst into immersive learning experiences far, wide, and even in the deep. At the university’s Marine Science Center (MSC) these up-and-coming researchers, ecologists, and biologists are pursuing discovery not just in the classroom, but along the coast where they collect field samples, catalogue data, and channel their curiosity under the leadership of skilled investigators.

Situated on a peninsula in Nahant, Massachusetts, the Marine Science Center is a hub where students and faculty explore topics from species interactions to the impact of climate change on ecosystems. And with backing from the Halverstadt Family Summer Internship Program, more undergraduates are honing their scientific skills, developing their own lines of inquiry, and launching their careers.

During a co-op in Associate Professor Jennifer Bowen’s lab, Catherine Hexter, S’22, studied narG, a gene responsible for the reduction of nitrate, a commonly used fertilizer. But at the end of her co-op, Hexter still had questions she wanted to answer—and support from the Halverstadt Family Summer Internship Program enabled her to see her research through to fruition.

“This internship combined with the time I have spent working at the MSC confirmed my desire to go to graduate school and pursue a PhD in the same field,” says Hexter. “The mentorship I received was integral in my decision.”

Without her internship, Hexter would not have had time to advance her project and write a report of her findings. Now, “There is no doubt in my mind she will get this manuscript published before she graduates,” says Associate Professor Bowen. “It is safe to say that the opportunity provided by this internship was truly transformative for this young scholar, and my lab has benefited tremendously from having her.”