(From left to right): Dr. Lindo-Artichati, Jessica Scicchigno, and Tatiana Vasyleva pose by their research vessel.

While many students choose to lounge on the sunny sands of exotic islands during the lazy days of Spring Break, three College of Staten Island (CSI) undergraduates are enjoying the tropics in a different way.

Lillian Morales ’17, Jessica Scicchigno ’17, and Tatiana Vasyleva ’17 are participating in a land and sea research project based in Puerto Rico.

Organized by Professor David Lindo-Atichati, PhD, Assistant Professor in the Department of Engineering and Physics at CSI, the marine research expedition will span from Puerto Rico to Saint Croix.

Vasyleva, a Physics major, and Scicchigno, double majoring in Psychology and English, will conduct hands-on research aboard the federal Research Vessel Nancy Foster from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). Meanwhile, Morales will remain ashore to conduct outreach, including writing a blog in English and Spanish entitled “Ocean Expedition to the Virgin Islands: Undergraduate women rocking science!

According to Dr. Lindo-Atichati, “The on board team will deploy ocean instruments and sensors into the ocean to better understand the cross shelf transport of water masses and the implication of these ocean motions for the recruitment of baby fish. That work is important to understand the non-linear motions of seawater and nutrients near the shelf break, and critical to manage marine protected areas in the US Caribbean.”

As Morales loyally reports from the shores of San Juan, she describes a trip filled with hard work and also time for some recreation.

Lillian Morales is writing a blog about the team's adventure.

On Day 3 of her blog, she writes, “Despite their hard work at the labs, the researchers are able to enjoy themselves and the beautiful view that comes from working on this vessel. They have described their time out in the ocean to be peaceful and also amazed of how beautiful the ocean looks and sunsets. They have also enjoyed some time at the gym and despite the rocking of the vessel, Tatiana mentions that yoga there is very fun to do. Not only do they collect sample and data, they were also able to enjoy in a game of Easter egg hunt! Not only was that pretty cool today but Giovanni states that were able to deploy CTD’s to a depth of 2,110 meters. And now after a few stations they were finally had the first XBT deployment, expandable bathythermographs. They are not meant to be collected they just fall to the bottom of the ocean. What an exciting day!”

Morales is majoring in Education with a minor in Geology.

Impressed with the bilingual blog, Dr. Lindo-Atichati comments, “Outreach efforts like these show people (not only scientists) what we do, why we do it, and what society gains from it. In short, the goal of this effort is to deliver our science beyond the margins of a scientific paper, and beyond the walls of the classroom.”