Making a Difference

Kevin Schofield

As I write this, Summer Session B 2013 has just concluded. I had the privilege of visiting the Labs on several occasions over the past three months, and as is always the case during the summer, the place was buzzing with activity. The resident and visiting researchers were pursuing some fascinating projects, and the Centennial has been busy as well taking out teams of faculty and students to conduct experiments and collect specimens.

Kevin Schofield and nephew with "adopted student," Karlina Ozolina. (FHL Adopt-a-Student Porgram)

But the highlight for me whenever I get to visit during the summer is the opportunity to meet students from all over the world and to hear their personal stories: what brought them to Friday Harbor Labs, and the amazing experiences they are having while here. This year I met a brilliant young woman who is enrolled in a graduate program at a landlocked university in the UK (University of Manchester) where she studies fish organs (in particular, hearts). Being here this summer gave her the chance to collect fish specimens herself and to immediately work with them - as well as the opportunity to see species that she simply would never get exposed to back in the UK. She told me she is already discussing with her advisor back home some new ideas for research protocols as well as new research projects they might want to undertake in the future.

She represents just one of several similar stories I hear every summer. Friday Harbor Labs is in the right place at the right time, making a real difference to the field and to faculty and students. I feel lucky to have a ringside seat as this all happens.

This summer we have also seen the successful conclusion to Professor Ken Sebens' term as Director of Friday Harbor Labs, with a long list of important achievements over his eight-year term. I'd like to extend my congratulations and thanks to Ken for a job well done and wish him the best as he returns his focus to full-time research and teaching. We have also seen Dr. Billie Swalla take the helm as Interim Director and right out of the gate she has started to make her mark on the Labs. In my short time working with her already I have come to appreciate her boundless energy, her humor, and her uncompromising commitment to continuing the Labs' tradition of world-class excellence in research and education. I look forward to supporting her as she makes great things happen.

I hope you all had an enjoyable and productive summer, and that you too had the opportunity to visit Friday Harbor Labs over the summer and experience firsthand the amazing things that are happening there.

To find out more about the FHL Adopt-a-Student Program or to support a student yourself, click here.