27 new students welcomed at VIMS

Bill Nachman - Posted on Aug 25, 2010 - 04:08 PM

The Virginia Institute of Marine Science welcomed 27 new students to its Gloucester Point campus when the fall 2010 term began yesterday.

Iris C. Anderson, dean of graduate studies, said recently that enrollment will be "pretty level" compared to some recent years. She said that 82 percent of the students accepted for admission at VIMS will report for classes here.

In all, the applicant pool included 121 requests this year, with 33 students admitted and 27 of those actually being enrolled. The mean grade point average of entering students is 3.49, a VIMS report said, with mean verbal Graduate Record Exam of entering students at 509 and a mean quantitative GRE of 676.

The incoming class includes nine men and 12 females entering the master of science degree program, Anderson said, with two men and four females entering the doctoral program.

"Most students matriculating in the School of Marine Science enter with some extensive experience in marine and environmental science and with very interesting backgrounds," Anderson said. For example, Jennifer Elliott served as project manager/research scientist/fundraiser for reef conservation on the island of Mauritius; Brandon Conroy was a research intern working on harmful algal blooms at Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute, and Brittani Koroknay is a lieutenant in the U.S. Coast Guard.

Also, Itchika Sivarpram is an assistant professor in the science faculty at Chlalongkorn University in Bangkok, Thailand; Cielomar Rodriguez-Calderon did research on sedimentation from the Waipaoa River in New Zealand, and Matt Freedman was continuing education coordinator for The Institute of Florida Studies at Hillsborough Community College in Florida, among others.

Virginia students comprise 26 percent of the new student body, Anderson said. Out-of-state students comprise 63 percent of the class. Also, there’s 11 percent foreign representation the class, including one student each from People’s Republic of China, Taiwan, Thailand and Mauritius.

In all, there are a total of 104 graduate students at VIMS.

Sue Presson, the school’s registrar, said VIMS graduated 23 students for the 2009-10 academic year, including 10 receiving master’s degrees and 13 receiving doctorates.

Marine science minor

In another campus matter, Anderson said she was pleased with how well a new joint program between VIMS and the College of William and Mary is working. VIMS, W&M’s graduate school for marine science, began participating in a new undergraduate minor in marine science last spring.

The minor is designed to meet a strong and growing interest in marine science among W&M undergraduates, Anderson said, and features courses taught by faculty at the Gloucester Point and Williamsburg campuses.

The program was initially offered as a three-year pilot program for 20 students, a VIMS release said. Most of the students major in sciences, Anderson said, and will earn 18 hours of marine science credits toward a minor in that subject area.

The program represents "an exciting new chapter in VIMS’ long history of providing an exemplary education in marine science," said VIMS Dean and Director John Wells.


VIMS is again participating in the PERFECT program to support classroom teaching this school term, Anderson said.

The five-year program, begun last year, is formally called Partnership between Educators and Researchers For Enhancing Classroom Teaching.

Graduate students are assigned at several schools in the region schools to help instructors better communicate marine science blocks to their students, Anderson said. Nine students worked in the program last year (including at Page Middle School in Gloucester), with eight slotted to participate this term.