Saint Joseph’s College students Priscilla Carnaroli ’22 and Shaylee Davis ’21 delivered a presentation about invasive species at Maine Campus Compact’s 2nd Annual Maine Student Water Challenge in December 2018. Priscilla is studying medical biology and minoring in sustainability, while Shaylee is majoring in environmental science.
The Challenge brought together higher education students to discuss solutions to water-related problems in the state and was supported by a National Science Foundation award to Maine’s Established Program to Stimulate Competitive Research (EPSCoR) at the University of Maine. Maine Campus Compact is a coalition of 18 member campuses whose purpose is to catalyze and lead a movement to reinvigorate the public purposes and civic mission of higher education.
“Chemicals in invasive plants can change water quality,” explained Shaylee. Aided by a teaching kit from the Lake Stewards of Maine, the students held up models of invasive species like milfoil, Brazilian waterweed, eelgrass, fanwort, and coontail, while detailing their harmful effects. They touched upon the challenges regarding prevention, identification, and disposal.
“It’s important to spread the word about invasive species, especially to tourists, because they might not be as aware of the issues as locals,” said Priscilla. Although only a freshman, Priscilla is exploring the possibility of veterinary school and enjoys animal science. She is most drawn to “the wonder of science–testing out new ways to do things.” Priscilla was selected as a CASE Scholar, part of the College’s Community-Based Learning Program, which supports students who demonstrate a sustained commitment to environmental issues and community service.
Shaylee envisions a future career in water toxicology, testing water supplies. During the fall she participated in the College’s Environmental Science Semester, a ten-week immersive program through which sophomores and juniors conduct field research in Maine, New Hampshire, and Canada. Shaylee learned about climate change, glacial geography, marine ecology, and oceanography through experiential travel and field methods training.