Stone Lab is well known for its hands-on approach to lessons and its unique location on Gibraltar Island, but the magic comes from more than just a great locale, as then-second year biology student Emily Esplandiu learned last summer. Stone Lab puts students in close contact with experts in their field, in the field, giving them the opportunity to ask questions and have dialogues that wouldn’t be possible in a traditional classroom.
Emily was working her way through the semester when a flier caught her eye. “Will it be you?” it asked, showing two students standing in a creek and looking into a sample jar, nets and other tools in hand. The poster was for Stone Lab, Ohio State’s island campus on Lake Erie. Intrigued, she asked her friend who, it turned out, had attended classes at Stone Lab just the previous summer. That friend urged her to attend.
Heeding her friend’s advice, Emily signed up for Evolution and Ecology, two of Stone Lab’s five-week advanced courses. She was looking forward to Stone Lab’s signature in-the-field class style, but trips out onto the lake and into the field weren’t the only perks of class. Emily loved the small class sizes. “I was taking classes that were actually fun and not just sitting in a lecture of 300 people,” she said. “It’s easier to engage and I feel like I will be more likely to talk and ask questions back on campus.”
In fact, Emily’s favorite part of her time at the lab was the environment, in every sense of the word. Being out on the boats and in the water was fantastic, and it was enhanced by a cohort of other students, all just as involved and passionate about the subject. When asked about her favorite moments, she answered “I think the best memories are from the friends I made and the good times we had inside and outside of the classroom.”
Now, back on Columbus’s campus, Emily is reassured in her passion and working toward her goal of becoming a marine biologist. Thinking back, she said “It was one of the best times I’ve ever had. I already miss it!”
So much so, in fact, that she came back for a limnology class this summer.