Sea Education Association

About SEA

Student Stories

Omar Clark

Omar Clark

SEA Semester Class:

S-236 (Summer Session, Summer 2011)

College/University:

SUNY: Stony Brook University

Major/Minor:

Marine Biology

SEA Semester Research Focus:

Scientific Research - The Effects of Varying pH levels towards Marine Calcifying and Gelatinous Organisms.

Why did you choose SEA Semester?

I wanted to be a part of a program that would present both a physical and an intellectual challenge. I was interested in learning in a different environment and the new skills that this program would afford me. SEA was also a great resource to fulfill some of my science credits.

What were the strongest aspects of SEA Semester?

Affording us the equipment that we needed to make conscious and rational decisions on what is best for us individually and as a group was one of the strongest aspects of SEA. We were treated as intelligent individuals who were capable of making the right decisions without someone behind our backs coaching us. Throughout the shore and sea components we were encouraged to be independent, take initiative and challenge ourselves to do something that we never thought we were capable of doing. SEA enforced these principles throughout the academic and social aspect of the program, in which I believe that helped us to grow and mature tremendously.

What were the most challenging aspects of SEA Semester?

On shore, the class days became a little tedious at first. The days were long and we had a substantial amount of assignments that needed to be completed in a short amount of time. But after constantly repeating this cycle, we, (at least I) finally realized that you just have to apply yourself a little more and eventually we started to enjoy the academic a bit portion more. The sea component was both a physical and mental strain. The hours that we had to be up, sailing for the first time and completing the academic portion of the program almost became overwhelming. But luckily, we had mentors and our peers who understood our situation and was able to work with us accordingly. They knew the position that we were in; even though they often challenged us to go to the next level, they were patient and understanding, which allowed our transition in that demanding environment to go productive and smoothly.

Words of advice for future SEA Semester students?

I would advise any future SEA students to be open to whatever challenges that you are presented. Never be afraid to say ‘I do not understand’ or ‘can we go over that again, please.’ The instructors are there to help, they LOVE to help, even though you are required to independently think, if there is anything they could do to put you on the right track, they will! You will be presented with a challenge, but nonetheless, it is a challenge that you will be happy you accepted. I can proudly reminisce, smile and say that ‘SEA has had a profound effect on my life; easily, it’s the best experience I have had thus far and I have also met some of the most interesting and intelligent individuals.’