Mount Mercy’s Strategic Plan may be a document that Ian Ster ’12 will never read, but he has benefited directly from the institution’s re-dedication to enhancing student experiences, including academic field experiences, internships and study abroad opportunities.
Ster, a biology major from Marion, Iowa, has participated in two unique field experiences to bolster his understanding of marine life and broaden his resumé. He spent this past summer at the Hollings Marine Laboratory through the College of Charleston researching the population structure and genetic diversity of Robust Redhorse, an endangered freshwater fish. This fall semester, Ster is taking classes in coral reef ecology, scientific methods in diving and tropical marine conservation in Bonaire, in the Netherland Antilles in the southern Caribbean.
His relationships with faculty were integral in encouraging Ster to apply for and secure such intriguing and competitive field experiences. “I definitely would not have gotten this opportunity without the close relationships with the faculty and all of their help and involvement with my academic life,” says Ster. “When I first came to Mount Mercy I never thought I would have such opportunities for a research internship and study abroad program.”
In 2010-11, approximately 75 Mount Mercy students participated in an internship; approximately 850 participated in clinical experiences, field experiences or practica.