Earn Rescue Diver Certification and complete Divemaster training in Honduras while conducting field research on the Mesoamerican Barrier Reef System and at the Whaleshark & Oceanic Research Center to develop culturally-responsive learning based on theoretical chemical and biological principles involved with diving and offer students "Discover SCUBA" classes at the community's YMCA pool.
My background in coral reef ecosystems and the physiology of scuba diving have grown tremendously during my FFT Internship. I can now anchor my lessons in real life experiences I had during my Divemaster training in Utila, Honduras. I am now qualified to lead Skin Diver Classes for students looking to expand their capabilities in calm ocean waters. I am also a certified medic trained to deal with First Aid emergencies and CPR which have direct correlations to my AP Biology course.
My curriculum will now have an emphasis on environmentalism as a major theme that connects across the academic standards of my biology courses in Grade 9 and 12. While my students will learn about the negative impact of invasive species, climate change, and pollution, I will also have them study the collaboration between the businesses, research groups, and the Utila dive community in the conservation of the beautiful barrier reefs that protect their homes.
The most challenging moment of the internship was successfully completing the Stress Test where I shared a single air source with my partner while exchanging all of our equipment underwater. This experience pushed me outside of my comfort zone and shifted my perspective of scuba diving away from a "recreational" sport to a realization that scuba is a transformational experience with great responsibility in taking care of my students.
I can now enhance my biology lessons with my personal experiences studying diving and observing the Meso-American Barrier reef and incorporate these stories into my coursework. My knowledge on the physiology of diving and Rescue Diving (CPR/first aid) are now fundamental skills that link curriculum to "real world" issues that can help them in a crisis. I am now qualified to teach skin diving to my school community and look forward to offering these Wellness classes at our YMCA.
I hope to collaborate with Math teachers for cardiovascular student run labs using some of the First Aid/CPR measures and the Wellness Director and Dean of Enrichment in helping coordinate a First Aid course for all seniors attending our Leadership Summit in the winter. I also hope to lead a campaign for teachers to commit to using reusable dishware and cups in order to reduce our reliance on disposable plastic.
Capstone research projects regarding cardiovascular system will be presented at the end of the Trimester in our Black Box community space for the AP Biology Class and Food Web research projects motivated by MesoAmerican Reefs will be presented in the classroom for Biology 9 Course.
Motivated by the use of metal straws in Utila Honduras and Beach Cleanups at Utila Dive Center, I plan on leading campus wide awareness projects for small changes in personal choices that can collectively have positive impact on the environment. We hope to run a parallel session for teachers to commit to using re-usable mugs/thermoses instead of disposable cups for their coffee/tea they drink each day.
My personal experience in Utila has opened my eyes in terms of how my classroom content can be directly connected with the lives of my students by changing my personal choices in terms of responsibility towards issues of environmentalism. Beyond that, I have a much deeper understanding and appreciation of the physiology of diving and coral reef that will now enhance my classwork. I have also developed professional relationships with biologists in Utila who I will return to in the future.