Millersville University students in the coral reef ecology class had the trip of a lifetime this summer when they spent 10 days in Honduras as part of a PASSHE consortium that offers summer field courses to college students. The entire class was three weeks long. The trip to Honduras lasted from May 22 – June 2.
“I made so many lifelong memories on this trip! I’m so grateful for the opportunity to take this class,” says Millersville University student Alyssa Lutz.
The students dove into a wreck and did a shark dive where they swam with about 15 Caribbean Reef sharks about 10 feet in length. They also got the opportunity to snorkel and play with dolphins, and they spent a day cleaning the coral nursery and planting corals back onto the reef to help restore the elkhorn corals. During their downtime, there were opportunities to swim, kayak, paddleboard, and ride horses.
“The students did a lot! They had lectures and quizzes and exams both in the classroom before the trip and then additional quizzes to test their knowledge in the field,” says Dominique Didier, professor of biology at Millersville University. “We went SCUBA diving every day at least two times per day. We dove a huge variety of sites, including the largest reef of staghorn coral in the Caribbean, drift dives on coral walls and two-night dives.”
Eight students were enrolled in the class, comprised of students from Millersville University, Kutztown University, East Stroudsburg University, Shippensburg University and one from Virginia Commonwealth University.
“I have never felt so appreciative and inspired. This program opened up my eyes to my dreams and made them possible. I wish I could relive every moment of this beautiful adventure of my life. I simply don’t want it to end,” says Millersville University student Somer Barrett.
“The success of the trip was due to several factors. One was the fact that I had a great group of students who came from all different schools, but all got along well and were willing to take on all kinds of adventures together,” says Didier.
The staff in the Office of International Programs and Services was instrumental in planning and organizing the trip.
“I look forward to teaching this course again and hope that more MU students can participate. It’s a great experience,” says Didier.
For more information on the Millersville University biology program, visit Biology.