Marine Institute Bursary students showcased the experience they gained during their eight-week work placements with the Marine Institute at the annual Bursar Seminar day, held at the Institute in Oranmore, Galway recently (23rd July 2015).
Twenty-three students from diverse fields of studies gained work experience in a variety of jobs, including fish and shellfish assessments and surveys, corporate communications, sampling salmon and commercial fisheries in ports, assessments of maritime economics and oceanographic technology development.
"The Bursary Seminar Day is used to give students a chance to practice their presentations skills and provide information on their bursary to their peers," explained Ms. Helen McCormick, Bursar Programme Co-ordinator and Senior Laboratory Analyst, Fisheries Ecosystems Advisory Services, at the Marine Institute. "The standard of the presentations this year was extremely high and it really showed that during the short period of the student bursaries, they gained valuable experience and skills that will help them further their careers," she said.
Five awards were made with first place in the individual presentations going to Daniel Connell (Marine Science, NUI Galway), working in the Communications office in Oranmore. Daniel spoke about the number of different campaigns through which the Marine Institute actively promotes Ocean Literacy, and his contribution to the Explorers Education Programme Teacher Training Workshop, run by the Marine Institute and Galway Atlantaquaria.
Second place went to Alan Maher (Software Development, Carlow Institute of Technology), bursar in the Ocean Science and Information Services department in the Marine Institute, based in the Marine Institute Facility at Galway Docks, who discussed his role and contribution in the advancement of certain oceanographic profiling instrumentation.
In the group presentations, first place went to Fisheries Port Samplers Ciara Hunt (Marine Science, NUI Galway); Sharon Sugrue (Wildlife Biology, Institute of Technology Tralee); Declan Hand, (Applied Freshwater and Marine Biology, Galway Mayo Institute of Technology); and Alina Madita Wieczorek, (Marine Science, NUI Galway) who discussed their collective roles, which involved port sampling across Ireland, cockle surveying in Dundalk Bay, nephrops sampling in Dunmore East, and the aging of fish in the laboratory using otoliths, respectively.
Second place was awarded to Viktor Avgustin (Economics & Sociology, Trinity College Dublin) and Philip Bane (Business Economic & Social Studies, Trinity College Dublin), both based at the Irish Maritime Development Office (IMDO) in Dublin. Vicktor and Philip discussed how they collated data from Irish ports, shipping companies & National Transport Departments to construct their Tonnage Tax database project.
Special commendation went to Liam Lachs (Marine Science, NUI Galway) who worked with the Aquaculture Field work team in Oranmore, and made his presentation on Sea Lice monitoring – in co-ordination with presentation and bursary partner Ryan McGeady (Applied Freshwater and Marine Biology, Galway Mayo Institute of Technology) - via video link from the RV Celtic Explorer, where he is currently studying the distribution and resilience to deep sea trawling of deep ocean coral ecosystems around the porcupine bank, as part of a separate three-week venture.
Judges for the event were Dr. Peter Heffernan, CEO Marine Institute; Mr. Joe Silke, Section Manager, Marine Environment and Food Safety Services at the Marine Institute; and Paula Hynes, Laboratory Analyst, Shellfish Safety Unit.
Mr. Joe Silke spoke about the quality of the bursars work during their eight-week placements and the confidence Ireland can have in the future of the marine industry. "It's encouraging to see that we have another new cohort of highly motivated and engaged marine scientists coming through the third level system".
"The students have gained a deeper understanding of the value of the marine. I am confident that this group of marine scientists will continue to ensure Ireland retains its reputation for excellence in marine science," said Dr Peter Heffernan, CEO of the Marine Institute.
This year, bursars came from a total of ten different third-level institutes across Ireland and the UK; NUI Galway, Galway-Mayo Institute of Technology, Institute of Technology Tralee, Sligo Institute of Technology, University College Cork and Carlow Institute of Technology, University of Highlands and Islands, Limerick Institute of Technology, Waterford Institute of Technology, and Trinity College Dublin.
The value of the Marine Institute Bursary Programme is highly recognised and has historic significance in the marine science sector. "The bursary programme has been ongoing since the 1960s and gives students an opportunity to gain valuable experience within their chosen subject field. Previous bursars have gone on to secure various posts with the Marine Institute, at all levels up to and including Director level," said Helen McCormick.
The programme is aimed at undergraduates who have completed two years' study in a relevant discipline and is advertised on www.marine.ie in February each year.
More information about the bursary programme can be seen on the Marine Institute Facebook www.facebook.com/marineinstituteireland