SoCo Highlight: Sophomores set sail in Monterey Bay

Like navigating the ocean, piloting a three-week Sophomore Faculty (SoCo) class centered round engaged on a ship could be unpredictable and tumultuous. Ample alternative exists for plans to alter — particularly when the ship just isn’t there.

The Western Flyer, a historic ship famed to be used by John Steinbeck within the Nineteen Forties, was anticipated to reach in Monterey Bay in July. However two months later, in early September, it remained docked in Seattle for upkeep. 

For individuals within the SoCo class in Monterey Bay (OCEANS 10SC) — 11 college students, two Sophomore Faculty Advisors and their professor — this meant a last-minute improvisation. Discovering themselves with neither a ship nor its devices, which might have included a water column profiler and a sonar unit, the group took a detour to Dwelling Depot and acquired artful onboard the whale-watching boat the New Horizons as an alternative.

The course, which ran from Sept. 4 to Sept. 22, was led by professor of oceans William Gilly, whose analysis consists of the chromatophores and escape responses of squids on the Hopkins Marine Station. 

Gilly mentioned that he had anticipated last-minute spontaneity because of the nature of the course.

“You may’t simply rely on having stunning, sunny, calm climate,” Gilly mentioned. “I believe all of us gained an excellent understanding of how troublesome it’s to do work at sea, how difficult it’s … however I really consider that uncertainty is what drives exploration.”

The interdisciplinary course included classes in regards to the complicated historical past of Monterey Bay, discussions in regards to the space’s wealthy and numerous marine biology and a area journey to the house of famend Carmel poet Robinson Jeffers. On board the New Horizons, college students participated in hands-on actions, together with whale watching, photographing birds and fishing for their very own dinner.

College students additionally created remaining initiatives based mostly on the course materials and their very own educational pursuits, which ranged from administration science and engineering to worldwide relations. 

After repeatedly observing a sea lion violently beating a sunfish on the floor of the water, Killian Sullivan ’26, a administration science main, selected to analysis the phenomenon additional for his remaining undertaking. Utilizing a remotely operated automobile (ROV) to evaluate the state of affairs from underwater, Sullivan was in a position to establish the phenomenon as a feeding sample wherein the ocean lion would beat the sunfish to loss of life, a course of necessitated by the fish’s in any other case impenetrable pores and skin. 

“They’ll discover a sunfish, tear the fins off and go away it on the floor,” Sullivan mentioned. “Then they’ll go hunt, and in the event that they discover nothing higher, they’ll come again to the sunfish.”

For her remaining undertaking, Dani Gonzalez-Gaubeka ’26, a potential worldwide relations main, selected to analysis the geographical historical past of Chinese language fishing villages in Monterey Bay. Drawing info from pictures and paperwork, Dani created a map of the area encompassing the Hopkins campus, the Monterey Bay Aquarium and elements of town.

“Maps inform such attention-grabbing tales, not solely in regards to the land that they signify but additionally about who makes these maps, what biases affect them, what’s proven and what isn’t proven,” Gonzalez-Gaubeka mentioned. “I actually loved with the ability to compile the tutorial and visible info I’d gotten right into a remaining product.”

College students additionally shaped a robust sense of camaraderie inside the small class, a core tenet of this system’s design. Sophomore Faculty Advisor Dylan Hyun ’24 recounted the receptive and compassionate nature he witnessed whereas serving to lead the journey.

“It was actually nice to see the sorts of conversations that individuals would have exterior of sophistication time that have been associated to the course materials, and in addition simply the friendliness and bond that shaped simply by advantage of being caught on a ship collectively,” Hyun mentioned.