Marine Option Program
ASCC students (l-r) Lottie Haleck, Anastasia Carruthers and Anneliese Haleck are this semester's recipients of the Marine Option Program Certificate, which encompasses study of ocean-related issues over three semesters. (Photo: J. Kneubuhl)

ASCC Marine Science Student Complete MOP Certificates

December 8, 2015

By ASCC Staff

Three American Samoa Community College (ASCC) students have completed their certificates in the Marine Option Program (MOP). Anneliese Haleck, Lottie Haleck and Anastasia Carruthers enrolled In fall 2014 in the MOP, a certificate program open to students of any major who have an interest in the ocean. The MOP at ASCC mirrors to the program of the same name at UH Manoa, and gives students the opportunity to take marine-related coursework, and to conduct an independent research project or participate in an internship in a marine-related field. The MOP consists of three classes over three semesters: MOP Seminar (MSC 100); MOP Skills Project (MSC 201); and Service Learning (MSC 202).

In MSC 100, students learn how to write a scientific paper on a specific marine-related research topic of their choice. In MSC 201, they then go out and gather data on their independent research topic, which includes connecting with different government agencies such as the Department of Marine and Wildlife Resources, the National Park, and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Each student also works with their own mentor.

“The Marine Options Program has definitely given me the opportunity to extend my network and get out of my comfort zone when it comes to working with our mentors,” stated Anneliese Haleck, whose topic targeted the herbaceous fish species abundance in Fagaalu, specifically on the park side rather than the Matafao side. “I’m glad I enrolled in this program because not only did we learn how to write a scientific paper and study our individual topics, but we also had fun field trips and we helped each other succeed and excel in and out of class.”

Anneliese, along with her sister Lottie and fellow MOP student Anastasia Carruthers, wrote scientific papers, conducted independent research, and presented their data to local high schools during outreach visits. Anastasia chose to research “Coral Heat Tolerance,” while Lottie focused on “Coral Rugosity,” which entailed studying the complexity of corals. All three students used Fagaalu as their research site during spring 2015 while taking their MOP 202 class. For their last MOP class, Service Learning (MSC 202), Annelise, Lottie and Anastasia gave an outreach presentation at Tafuna High School. For their service learning project, they promoted coastal cleanliness on the radio and organized a beach cleanup at Fagaalu on Saturday, November 14, 2015. “It’s been such a fun time!” enthused Anastasia. “We’ve gotten to meet so many amazing and passionate people who love what they do in regards to marine-related work. We also gained field work experience. I definitely recommend this program to any students who are curious and who are interested to know more about our ocean.”

The MOP Certificate is awarded to students who have completed the specialized marine-focused course of study, including required 12-16 hours of marine-related coursework and an independent skill project. Lottie, Anastasia and Anneliese will formally receive their MOP certificates when they graduate this semester. Anneliese and Lottie shared that they will be furthering their education at UH Hilo, while Anastasia is seeking to serve her country by enlisting in the military. They expressed their gratitude to ASCC instructors Jameson Newtson and Kelley Anderson Tagarino, the ASCC Phi Theta Kappa honor society, the ASCC Psychology Club, and to KHJ Radio.