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Giving Back: Karen A. Jennings | Ohio Sea Grant

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Giving Back: Karen A. Jennings

12:00 pm, Sat November 1, 2014 –

Stone Lab students always maintain a special connection to their time on the island. Many will return as Friends of Stone Lab to help with annual events, or they support the lab through donations. And then there are a few alumni who go the extra mile and include Stone Lab in their estate, contributing to Lake Erie research and education long after they themselves are gone.

Karen A. Jennings

Stone Lab Boat

A number of Stone Lab alumni return at least once a year to show off the island to visitors at the Friends of Stone Lab Open House.

Karen was a student at Stone Lab in 1964 and 1975, and those experiences led her to an early career at the Ohio Biological Survey. In addition, the relationships she built with her classmates and professors fueled her passion for environmental issues and science education, and created lifelong friendships that resulted from summers filled with hard work and hard play.

In 1982, Karen was instrumental in the creation of the Friends of Stone Lab (FOSL), a group of Stone Lab alumni that supports programs, creates opportunities for former students and faculty to stay connected, and gives new students a chance to make their own Stone Lab memories. She served as FOSL’s president in 1982-84 and 1998-99, and in 2002, started the annual Buckeye Island Hop to encourage other Ohio State alumni groups to take advantage of the opportunities offered at Stone Lab. Karen was inducted into the Stone Lab Hall of Fame in 2007.

Karen’s gift will establish two related funds: the Karen A. Jennings Facility and Instructional Support Fund, which will provide immediate support, and the Karen A. Jennings Facility and Instructional Endowed Support Fund, which focuses on long-term support. Both funds will help build or renovate faculty and staff housing at Stone Lab, purchase scientific equipment and offset transportation costs for educational programs, and improve other Stone Lab facilities used for education.

“Stone Lab experiences occur 24/7 for both professors and students, so it is crucial to support the instructional efforts in the classroom,” Karen says. “The increasing cost of fuel impacts the frequency and location for instructional field trip experiences. And physical facilities are expensive to maintain in an island environment. Although much work is being done, the list of renovation and maintenance needs is very long, and significant work will be needed again in 30 years.”

ARTICLE TITLE: Giving Back: Karen A. Jennings PUBLISHED: 12:00 pm, Sat November 1, 2014 | MODIFIED: 11:31 am, Tue September 24, 2019
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Christina Dierkes
Outreach Specialist, Ohio Sea Grant College Program

As Ohio Sea Grant’s science writer, Christina covers research, education and outreach projects in the Great Lakes for a wide range of audiences. She also helps manage online events like Stone Lab’s Guest Lecture Series.

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