Samantha Cargill’s spring and summer of science began with a hands-on experience with lobsters off the coast of Cape Cod, as she got her first taste of the life of a marine biologist aboard one of the Massachusetts Maritime Academy’s ships.
It’ll stretch to the labs at Drew University next month, where she’ll be immersed in lectures and research as part of the annual Governor’s School in the Sciences, a rigorous program for the elites in biology, chemistry, math, physics, chemistry and anthropology.
For the West Deptford High School junior, it’s an exciting time.
Cargill, who’s considering the University of Pennsylvania, Dartmouth and Cornell to study marine biology, said the trip to Massachusetts was invaluable.
“I love learning about wildlife,” she said, and everything about the trip–from seeing lobsters pulled straight from the bay firsthand, to hearing speakers talk about the return of great white sharks to the waters off Cape Cod–was about just that.
And being from New Jersey, she didn’t have the local knowledge her peers had, so what they might take for granted–a lecture on gray seals, for instance–was all new to her.
Getting a chance to see marine biologists in action was a major plus for her, as well.
“It was nice to get a feel for what they do,” Cargill said, especially given she’s considering it as her field of study.
Things will shift a bit when she heads to Drew University for Governor’s School in July–it won’t all be boat trips and shark lectures, but it will be an intense experience, complete with a research project and lab teams.
Cargill will get her choice of classes and lab activities–she figures on leaning heavily toward biology–and said she’s excited by the prospects.
“I know they’re some of the top kids,” she said. “I’m more confident in what I can do and what I can do later in life.”
And it’s not just about research and studies–Cargill said meeting new people and having new experiences is just as important as anything else.
Her trip to the Maritime Academy, where she was one kid from New Jersey amid a sea of New Englanders, but was still able to make plenty of connections in a short time, was emblematic of that.
“I’m really proud of myself,” she said. “I didn’t know anyone there, so I know I’m going to be better off.”