Wheaton College Norton, Massachusetts

A successful experiment

Go Beyond, Campaign for Wheaton

Julia Lamenzo Fox ’93

Julia Lamenzo Fox ’93

Julia Lamenzo Fox ’93 spends her days on biomedical research work that didn’t exist when she was a student, yet she credits Wheaton with helping her get there.

“My curiosity was fostered at Wheaton and I got a foundation in science and research that was so strong I’ve been able to be really versatile in the roles I’ve taken,” she said.

That sense of gratitude has inspired Fox to reach back and help current and future students by supporting research opportunities in the biology department.

A career researcher in health and medicine, Fox currently holds the title scientific data curator for Novartis Institutes for Biomedical Research in Cambridge, Mass. Her job involves organizing and managing experimental results so that researchers are able to access results from work that takes place in labs around the world. [Read more...]

Research feature

Research with a side of adventure

Tropical biology takes students way out into the field

howler monkey

A howler monkey

The screams began before sunrise. And once they started, it was impossible to sleep. In the early morning darkness, the sounds suggested awful things: large beasts, such as dragons, trumpeting in anger. Or perhaps the sounds of war and death.

“The way I describe it is that it sounded like something being killed, or animals killing each other, like in a slow, painful way,” said Samantha Ferguson ’14. “It definitely sounded like death.”

The source of the sound: a troop of aptly named howler monkeys that had taken up residence in a stand of trees sheltering the river station dormitory at La Selva Biological Station. “The first time you hear that sound, every hair on your body stands up,” said Professor of Biology Scott Shumway, who has been visiting the tropics for more than 20 years.

“It’s not like your mother waking you up,” said Francine Camacho ’14. “It’s this screeching and then it hits you: ‘Wow, I’m really sleeping in the rainforest.’” [Read more...]

Native characters

The reef and rainforest ecosystems that students visit in the “Tropical Field Biology” course are incredibly diverse. Professor Scott Shumway offered field notes on a few of the species that students often focus on during the trip:

[Read more...]

A Belizean day in the life

The course is designed to make the most of every minute on the two-week field trip. Professor Scott Shumway offers a snapshot of the typical day in the field:

A typical day began with 7 a.m. breakfast, perhaps preceded by a moment of solitude walking the shoreline or out on the dock. After breakfast, we would gather in the classroom for instructions. Most mornings we boarded a boat for a 20-minute ride to one of the snorkel sites.

Afternoons were spent studying the patch reefs near the island. Between lunch and the afternoon snorkel, Professor Shawn McCafferty would lecture on coral identification or fish biology. After dinner the students would reassemble in the classroom for an overview of the day’s activities, a showing of the photos that Professor McCafferty took during the day, and planning the events of the next day. The final two days were devoted to the student patch reef projects. [Read more...]