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Alumni Profile: Jackie Rolleri '06
Gulf of Maine Research Institute
During the month of January I interned with the Gulf of Maine Research Institute (GMRI) in Portland, Maine. The mission of GMRI, a neutral, strategic marine research and education institution, is to convene public interest to resolve aquatic resource conflicts, research the Gulf of Maine watershed, and educate Maine residents and visitors about Maine’s fresh and saltwater resources. There are currently several lines of research being explored by GMRI relating to herring acoustics, shrimp fishery, lobster diet, fishing gear, and cod-tagging.
The scientist I worked under, Jonathon Grabowski Ph.D., is a research scientist and benthic ecologist. I worked side-by-side with his research technician Julien Gaudette, sorting through core samples taken this past summer from Casco Bay. The samples were collected as part of the Assessment of nursery habitat within Casco Bay project. The goal of this study is to investigate sea grass and mud bottom habitats in Casco Bay using cores, larval traps, and trawls. The data will be used for an ecological/economic evaluation of habitats for fisheries productivity. About 20 million tons of crude oil are imported into Casco Bay annually, so this information could prove very useful incase of an oil spill.
Although the task of transferring samples and sorting organisms was a bit tedious and boring, I think the overall experience was beneficial. I confirmed the thought that I do not want to become a research biologist and prefer field over lab work. Both Jonathon and Julien were fun to work with and are definitely good connections to have for the future. I do not plan on going to graduate school right after Colby, but if I decide to apply to schools later on, I think the internship will help add to my credentials.Since GMRI is a new and upcoming organization, they are trying to establish a summer internship program. I was only the second intern they have had but they would like to eventually have more funding for interns. I told Jonathon Grabowski to contact career services at Colby, Bates, and Bowdoin to setup an e-recruiting profile, but if any other students are interested in a summer internship, they should contact GMRI. The facilities are beautiful and located directly on the waterfront in the Oldport section of Portland. All of the staff and faculty I met while interning were very friendly and dedicated to the missions set forth by GMRI.