No summer vacation for 2016 Joe’s grad

2016 grad Sam Daughenbaugh at work in the lab.

2016 grad Sam Daughenbaugh at work in the lab.

Sam Daughenbaugh has had marine biology on his mind since he can remember. The 2016 St. Joseph High School graduate soaks up knowledge on the subject like an ocean sponge absorbs food particles.

“Although I had never visited any marine environments until my sophomore year of high school, I was always excited to learn how important and mysterious the ocean is,” he said. “After spending a week in the Bahamas living on a research vessel with a team from the Shedd Aquarium a few years ago, I knew that pursuing a career in marine science would make me a very happy person.”

As an environmental biology major at DePauw University, Sam devoted this past summer doing research for a Ph.D. student at Indiana University.

“My focus was on how predator organisms spread disease in aquatic environments.”

Sam worked with four other students for 9 weeks while completing numerous experiments along with an occasional data analysis.

“The work was challenging but very rewarding,” Sam said. “It was very labor intensive. I handled a lot of pipettes. The experiments included tests under several conditions, such as the size and shape of the water reservoirs, water temperatures, feeding rates of organisms and the conditions of varying hosts, both infected and non-infected.”

Although the group has disbanded physically for the summer, the five researchers (two from DePauw University and three from Indiana University), will continue to work together completing data analyses.

“I suspect my year at DePauw will be challenging, given the research and my normal coursework,” he said.

Sam is used to finding time during a busy school year. Last year, he traveled to Washington D.C. on two occasions to lobby on environmental and indigenous rights issues.

“These were pretty significant experiences because they exposed me to the policy side of wilderness conservation efforts,” he said. “I met with several congressmen and legislative aids, most of whom were from Indiana. It was also great spending time at the Capitol, working in the House and Senate buildings, and seeing famous politicians. Hopefully I will do something similar again this year.”

Sam, keep your head above water, at least while you’re in school! We’re proud of you!