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Students from Hong Kong come to Eckerd for research exchange

By Robbyn Hopewell
Published August 16, 2017
Categories: Academics, Biology, Global Education, Marine Science, Research, Student Research
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Haze Chan, 22, a recent biotechnology graduate from Hong Kong Baptist University (HKBU) spent her summer at Eckerd College helping Assistant Marine Science Professor Cory Krediet, Ph.D., continue his research on sea anemones.

Students looking at a sample while on South Beach

Koi Yang (right), Alex Holderness ’17 (middle) and Savannah Carter ’17 examine a core sediment sample.

“This is much different than the lab work I did at my university, because I felt more a part of the planning,” said Chan, who spent the month of July working side by side with Eckerd students. “I am learning a lot.”

Chan was one of four HKBU students accepted to take part in the Eckerd College Research Exchange Program. The students applied and were selected through their home university and were offered complimentary lodging and the chance to do hands-on field research with Krediet; Marine Science and Geosciences Professor Gregg Brooks, Ph.D.; and Associate Biology/Marine Science Professor and Dolphin Project Coordinator Shannon Gowans, Ph.D.

Koi Yang, Wing Yi Lo and Chi Wing Chung all jumped at the chance to make their first trip to the United States to take part in field research.

“It was eye-opening and really valuable to be able to do research and see the wild animals up close,” said Lo, 21, a senior environmental science student from Hong Kong. “There are no dolphins when we go on research field trips in Hong Kong, just in the theme parks.”

Yang wanted to join his colleagues on the Dolphin Research Project this summer but found himself very satisfied with studying Cuban core sediment samples that Brooks had acquired on a research cruise to the island nation in May.

“In my field, I want to deal with pollution. So studying soil and sediment has given me more skills that I can use in the future,” Yang said.

Haze Chan feeds anemones with a syringe

Haze Chan feeds sea anemones in the lab.

Wing Yi Lo and Chi Wing Chung examine dolphin dorsal fins on computer screen

Meredith MacQueeney ’19 joins Wing Yi Lo and Chi Wing Chung in identifying dolphin dorsal fins.

Dr. Brooks and students around a table with lab equipment

Koi Yang (far left) works with Savannah Carter ’17, Dr. Gregg Brooks and Erika Fridrik ’15 (left to right) in Galbraith Laboratory.

Next summer, Eckerd students will travel to Hong Kong to work in labs at Hong Kong Baptist University as part of the exchange, said David Duncan, Ph.D., a visiting assistant professor of marine science.

Clifford Lezark ’18, a marine science and computer science major from Warren, R.I., went to HKBU with Duncan and three other students in 2016.

“We worked mainly with doctoral candidates and it was mind-blowing,” Lezark said. “It was intimidating at first, but we found out we knew a lot of the same things.”

Working abroad gave Lezark a new perspective and a passion to continue international research and education. “I would definitely do it again,” he said. “The experience of working abroad is invaluable.”

The research exchange began as a piece of Eckerd’s grant-funded Asia and the Environment Initiative. Duncan said professors on both continents are working diligently to keep the exchange going now that the grant is ending.

“The relationships we develop with the students and professors [at HKBU] continue on past the time we spend working together in labs. These friendships will potentially become the colleagues we work alongside in the future,” Duncan said. “And their similar professional interests will have begun by participating in this program.”