itn070327 (2)MSRC students, faculty and staff came together this past weekend, March 23-25, to host the 2007 Student Recruitment Weekend and welcome prospective graduate students to the program. Friday morning, over 20 prospective students arrived on campus from all around the country, including California, North Carolina, New Jersey, and Rhode Island. These past few weeks, Dr. Josephine Aller and Ph.D. student Owen Doherty have been working tirelessly with a group of MSRC volunteers to organize and plan all the details of this exciting weekend.

“We are really grateful to the assistance, time and housing provided by the staff and student volunteers. The weekend would have been a flop without it,” explained Doherty.

Upon arrival, prospective students met with assigned counselors and took tours of the center, guided by MSRC Ph.D. student Alex Valdes. After visiting several labs, the students regrouped in Endeavour 120 where Dean Conover, joined by the Chair of Admissions, Dr. Bob Aller, Recruitment Weekend Chair, Dr. Josie Aller and the Graduate Programs Director, Dr. Anne McElroy, officially welcomed them to MSRC. Happy hour and a poster session followed where current students presented their individual research and met with the group. The festivities of the weekend officially kicked off with an international potluck dinner Friday evening, organized by a volunteer planning committee headed up by MSRC staff member Gina Gartin. Staff volunteers worked throughout the day to transform Room 120 for the culinary celebration. Over 100 people attended the dinner and enjoyed a wide variety of delicious international dishes prepared by faculty, staff and student volunteers.

Saturday morning started off early as the group arrived at the beautiful Sunwood estate, located in Old Field, overlooking Long Island Sound. After breakfast and opening remarks, the remainder of the morning/afternoon consisted of presentations on current MSRC research, including talks given by graduate students Paula Rose, Dave Novak and Kolby Jardine. MSRC faculty presentations included discussions by Dr. Cindy Lee on the role of particles in ocean acidification, Dr. Nicole Riemer on atmospheric aerosols, Dr. Mark Fast on pathogens of fish and shellfish, and Dr. Michael Frisk on the ecology, evolution and management of fish.

MSRC Associate Director Bill Wise then escorted the prospective students on a tour of local Stony Brook environments including a visit to the R/V SEAWOLF in Port Jefferson Harbor, as well as Flax Pond, West Meadow Beach and Stony Brook Harbor.

Following an informal Q&A session back at MSRC, the group ended their weekend at the home of graduate students Ruth Coffey, Owen Doherty, and Sheryl Bell, who hosted the annual “Prospective Students Pizza Party”. The festivities continued well into the night!

“The weekend was an overwhelming success. All the prospective students I spoke with had a nice time and learned a lot about who we are and what we do. That said, we are already looking towards improving next year,” added Doherty.

The center thanks all who volunteered their time, energy, and living spaces to accommodate the prospective students and make this weekend a great success!

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