July 08, 2015
For Kaelyn Fogelman '17, the beach was more than just a relaxing vacation spot; it was her office for a summer.
A biology and ecology major at Susquehanna, Fogelman interned at the Gulfarium Marine Adventure Park in Fort Walton Beach, Fla. She also conducted two separate research projects for the Florida Park Service at Henderson Beach State Park and Saint Andrews State Park.
At the Gulfarium, Fogelman split her time between the park's different departments: The Gallery (Bony Fish and Invertebrates), Elasmobranchs and Reptiles. Each day, she assisted with the various components of caring for marine life, such as cleaning animal habitats, feeding and training animals, distributing medicine and providing minor veterinary care.
During her second month on the job, Fogelman was presented with the rare opportunity to help rescue a leatherback sea turtle that had stranded itself in the freshwater bay.
"Because they're usually found in open salt water, there have only been a handful of successful rehabilitation efforts," said Fogelman. "We consulted with experts at NOAA and made the decision to bring her in. She received around-the-clock vet care for a few days, and then we went out into the open ocean with the U.S. Coast Guard and released her."
When she was not working at the Gulfarium, Fogelman was deeply invested in her research for the Florida Park Service. At Saint Andrews State Park, she scuba dived to survey the area's existing red lionfish population. "They knew the lionfish were there, but they had no documentation or information as to how extensive the population was. That's where I came in."
After graduating from Susquehanna, Fogelman enrolled in a graduate program in aquatic ecology at Auburn University. "I'm interested in coral reef ecology. Eventually, I'd like to work with a university to teach there and conduct my own research."