Jamie Taylor Embarks on Journey to Panama

Editor’s Note: Distinctive Stockton Students features students who have received a Board of Trustees Fellowship for Distinguished Students, among others. Jamie Taylor is one of seven who received a fellowship this fall.

Jamie Taylor, a senior double-majoring in Marine Biology and Creative Writing, was recently awarded a $1,000 Board of Trustees Distinguished Fellowship Award for research titled, “Journey to Panama: An Eco-Journal.” Taylor’s award allowed her to complete a research project on coral reef ecology at the Institute of Tropical Ecology and Conservation in Bocas del Toro, Panama over the 2013-14 Winter Break.

“I wanted to join my double major together and try to create something that would encompass both marine science and creative writing,” Taylor said.

From her research, Taylor will construct a creative nonfiction journal about her journey and experiences with the course. She will cover topics such as tropical ecology, the importance of conserving the environment, the adventures of scuba diving, anthropogenic effects on reefs  (the influence of humans on nature, including climate change, overfishing, and diseases), and the personal experiences of a marine science student. The project will also incorporate literary techniques in the context of creative nonfiction.

“I want my journal to stress the importance of keeping a healthy ocean,” said Taylor. “I will focus on the importance of coral reefs and how they affect our oceans. I want to illustrate why people should care about corals and tropical seas.”

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Jamie Taylor’s first time seeing the Pacific Ocean on her journey to Panama.

At Stockton, Taylor is also the Marine Science Club secretary.

Taylor is thankful for the guidance of her Stockton professors, including Professor Matt Landau, Professor Pete Straub, Professor Mark Sullivan and Professor Elizabeth Lacey.

“Dr. Z [Visiting Assistant Professor Elizabeth Lacey] is the whole reason for my project and this award,” said Taylor. “She was so excited when I told her about my proposal. I can’t thank her enough for her help and support!”

Taylor also credits Dr. Straub, professor of Biology, for showing Taylor her career interests.

“Professor Straub’s course on Marine Survey Methods showed me what I want to do in life,” Taylor said. “I received first-hand experience driving a remotely operated vehicle, using a side-scan sonar, and using computer programs that inspired me to pursue a career not just in marine sciences, but also marine technologies.”

Taylor, who admits she cannot sit still, loves being outside. Her favorite hobby (more of an extension of her career) is scuba diving.

“I love wreck-diving off the Jersey coast- it’s a huge adrenaline rush. I’m currently working on my Advanced Diver Certification and Specialty in Underwater Photography. I hope to become a Professional Association of Diving Instructors (PADI) Instructor one day,” Taylor said.

She loves hiking, snorkeling, swimming, birding and traveling.

Taylor, originally from Berlin, NJ, is set to graduate in Summer 2014. Upon graduating, Taylor will receive a Bachelor of Sciences in Marine Biology and a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Creative Writing.

Taylor will be applying to graduate school next fall in hopes of pursuing a Ph.D. in an area of marine science/marine technology. Until then, she will apply for internships and volunteer in marine science-related areas.

“After graduate school, I want to hike the Appalachian Trail!” she said.

To read Jamie Taylor’s Panama research blog, visit www.jtpanamajournal.wordpress.com.