Friday Harbor Laboratories

What students say about their experiences at FHL

"Thank you all for the amazing quarter! That was the most fun I've ever had in school and the most I've ever learned in one quarter."

"FHL is magical."


"It was an unparalleled learning experience and the hands-on aspects of the course were particularly valuable."

"It was hands on learning and you were able to build close relationships with your professors — an experience you don’t usually have!"

"Loved my time here. You can tell everyone really wants to contribute to science."

"FHL has been everything to my career. I came to FHL as an undergraduate and fell in love with Marine Biology. I couldn't ask for a better place to be a graduate student."

"Awesome way to spend a summer."

"Keep this place going. A wonderful experience. I am very sad to leave. The community and structure are both conducive for learning and facilitating friendships."

"Being immersed in such a wonderful academic community where everyone is so interested in the smallest details of our marine environment."

"I loved the small classes and close knit community which FHL can create over only 5 weeks."

"My experience at FHL solidified my desire to perform biological research for the rest of my life. It taught me the critical importance of careful observation of biological phenomena, and taught me to value my own curiosity. It also allowed me to make some very inspiring friends - I felt honored to share a laboratory with such phenomenal students."

"Pretty much everything was amazing. The overarching theme of getting your hands dirty in the field and through doing and observing was a way better way to learn than reading about it. This was an amazing experience. I hope I will be back."

"The faculty was amazing. I learned so much about where I want my career to go, while learning valuable tools for becoming a professional in science. Best college quarter yet."

"What was especially good about my experience at FHL? All of the hands-on experiences and the small class with multiple instructors. It was also awesome to live and work closely with passionate experts in the field that they are teaching about."

"Living in such a beautiful setting was an amazing experience. It felt very safe."

"Suggested improvement: let us stay forever."

"Professionally, the student and faculty contacts have been very helpful since the course at FHL. The faculty instructors of my course have been the closest faculty mentors I have had outside of my own department, and they continue to provide support and guidance. It is very useful to be able to consult with scientists outside of my own university to get some perspective on options for my career."


"It changed my paradigm about the ocean and biology"

"I really loved that project and lived it. I sprinted with it all the way because it was fun and engaging on so many levels. Never before was I allowed to be so creative and immersed in a scientific endeavor, and because of the hands-on approach ... I retained a ton about experimental design and marine life. I quickly came to realize that I love to generate theories by analyzing underlining principles and structures. This was not obvious to me before coming to FHL and was definitely a huge driving force behind my enthusiasm. "

"Part of my integral formation as Marine Biologist and Ecologist is due to the course I attended in FHL. It was not only an academic experience but a cultural one. The opportunity to attend one of the courses you offered there was a great experience for an international student."

"FHL has an incredible task to educate future marine biologists with a holistic point of view about sciences"

"My experience in FHL was one of the best in my academic background….The course filled out all my expectation about the application of marine conservation sciences in the real world. Also as an Hispanic student I could share my academic and professional experience in Latin America with my classmates and professors."

"I am currently getting my Master's in Environmental Management. I am very passionate about what I've been involved with and learning about, and can pinpoint the genesis of this passion to my time at FHL. Taking the ZooBot course was the best decision of my undergraduate career at UW!"

"FHL was the best environment in which to learn ecology that I have had any direct or indirect experience with, and allowed me to understand the cutting edge of the field despite minimal background and preparation."

"Taking Invertebrate Zoology at FHL gave me a new appreciation for the beautiful complexity of living organisms and their adaptations. I am a much better paleontologist because of my FHL experience."

"I reflect fondly on the time I spent at Friday Harbor and plan to try to do summer research there once I have a faculty position of my own. The course I took at Friday Harbor taught me necessary skills for graduate school, and, most importantly, an appreciation for nature."

"Provided practical experience for dealing with larvae and embryos of marine invertebrates. Also a good set of scientific discussions and experience on elaborating projects helped a lot during my master's degree. Networking with people from other countries was also important for establishing collaborations."

"I learned to be self reliant and to see myself as a scientist. The love of the marine environment, nurtured at FHL has lasted throughout my life and manifested in my roles as teacher, citizen, mother and professional person. I gained an appreciation of basic research and it's importance, and never miss an opportunity to share that perspective with others."

"I cannot even begin to describe what FHL has done for me. The course I took as a beginning graduate student solidified my decision to continue graduate work. The instructors were an inspiration. The financial support in the form of FHL fellowships funded almost the entirety of my dissertation. The research community at FHL provided me with both current and future colleagues and collaborators."

"Because of FHL, I'm applying to doctoral programs in ecology and evolutionary biology, despite having studied physics as an undergraduate. FHL enabled me to do this by providing research opportunities, excellent courses, and an open, inviting atmosphere."

"It got me interested in all sorts of things starting with studies of development of marine invertebrates, and continuing with the nervous system! It exposed me to great joy of exploring the world around us! It changed my life forever! I was able to find great jobs! And, because of FHL I am planning on going to Masters School in marine related science!"

"I looked back to my course at FHL as "the best time of my life" for inspiration for the next step. I then applied to FHL as a research apprentice, that program gave me the critical experience needed to pursue graduate research in marine science. FHL has EVERYTHING to do with my current position as a graduate student…"

"My experiences at FHL have had a great impact on my ability to move forward in my marine career. Each class gave me a new understanding, and connection to the subject I learned. Additionally, I made contacts with professors and students who have guided me through research, helped me find good programs for graduate school and jobs."

"It (FHL) gave me tons of research experience in several different fields. It definitely helped me prepare for graduate school. The experience I had helped me get into graduate school and secure funding."

"The fish course at FHL was a huge boost to my career--really, it can't be overestimated.…it was my introduction to leading faculty in the field and, most importantly, an entire cohort of young scientists who are now not only colleagues I'll work with throughout my career, but friends."

"The class (at FHL) helped me formulate my research project, build my network and collaborative relationships (more truly life long friends). And performing research in a very supportive environment help put things into perspective and keep me motivated in my research area."

"My experience was my first experience doing biological field research, and while I did not end up staying in a marine field I most certainly caught the bug for fieldwork. To this day my research program incorporates a heavy field component which greatly improves the quality of my overall work, and my fantastic experience at FHL definitely had a role in guiding my research in this direction."

"As an undergrad, I gained valuable hands-on research experience and analytical skills that are hard to find on main campus..yet, to be a successful researcher, experience with independent projects - from thinking of hypotheses and goals to collecting data, analyzing data, and presenting, both orally and in written form - is vital."

"… the experience was transformative in that it allowed me to see that grad school was a possibility and that I was passionate about evolutionary biology and ecology."

"It was an overall incredible learning experience. Learned a great deal about conducting research and writing research papers. The coursework was unbelievably hands-on and all the concepts came to life in the field and in the lab."

"It was the best part of my undergraduate education for so many reasons. It improved my critical thinking and my understanding of biology and physiology which helps me in my career in medicine now. FHL is an invaluable place!!"

"It was exciting to see the great projects, some of which were even published in peer-reviewed journals, that students were able to turn out during some of the classes. It raised my expectations of what can be accomplished in a short period of time provided a supportive environment rich in a variety of resources."

"The community of scientists is a prime draw and it happens because FHL works hard to build it through egalitarian support of scientists at all levels."

"My experience at FHL as a student … was pivotal in my development as a scientist. I was able to mingle with real live scientists, learn about their research and also experience them as people."