Watershed students pursue passions through independent study

Nov 30, 2017
Watershed students pursuing independent studies include, from left, front: Hallie MacDougal, Nick Ryan; rear: Alex Facq, Jacob Faunce, Bea Buckley.

Camden — Hallie Macdougal, 17, is passionate about plankton.

A senior at Watershed School, Macdougal has been studying the effects of climate change on the ocean since she started high school. Watershed School allows students to pursue their desired field of study during elective periods, and she has chosen to put her time and energy into marine science and climate change. Her research has opened up many opportunities; she presented a poster on changing temperatures in the Somes Sound at the the Regional Association for Research on the Gulf of Maine Conference in 2016; her project on the oxygen production of phytoplankton received second place in the Plant Sciences division at the 2017 Maine State Science Fair, and also earned her a full scholarship to the University of Maine Honors College, as well as a $4,000 Presidential Scholarship to the University of Southern Maine.

She’s had internships with Bigelow Laboratory of Ocean Sciences and the Darling Marine Center, and she works with the Department of Marine Resources monitoring harmful algae blooms in the Gulf of Maine. Last March, she was awarded the “Girls Rock STEM-gineer award” by Hardy Girls, Healthy Women, a nonprofit organization dedicated to the health and wellbeing of girls and women.

Many other students also take advantage of this opportunity.

Senior Jacob Faunce and junior Alex Facq spend their elective time working at The Steel House, an art, design, and technology collective in Rockland. With mentoring from the Steel House’s Nathan Davis, Faunce is designing an app that indicates whether people with dietary restrictions could eat specific products. He has also designed and built a mini-robotics submersible to be used in marine education courses. Facq is currently taking an online MIT course on the Python programming language, and he had the opportunity to build and program a self-serve karaoke machine for CIFF this year.

Senior Nick Ryan is assisting published author and Watershed faculty member Ronni Arno Blaisdell in teaching a writing workshop to middle-school students. He is also working on his own novel, which he hopes to complete by the end of the year. Junior Bea Buckley is learning dressage with Certified ARICP Dressage Instructor Alexandra Doan, owner of Moose Ridge Farm in Lincolnville.

For further information, call 230-7341 or visit watershed-school.org.

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