DR. RENEE GODARD
Professor of Biology and Environmental Studies
I have always been fascinated by the dynamic interactions in marine ecosystems, though most of my research has been in terrestrial ecosystems. At the urging of students and alums, in 2010, I explored St. John and the waters of the Virgin Island National Park as a possible site for a January Term Travel course. Immediately, I was struck by the number of readily accessible snorkel sites and the potential for this island to provide the perfect microcosm to explore human impacts on both terrestrial and marine ecosystems. So in January 2011 I took my first group of students to St John and have returned there every January since then with students and my research colleague Dr. Morgan Wilson.
The ability to live, learn and explore this rich and complex environment with students in January has been rich and has led to more intensive summer thesis research projects with seniors. This summer research has been generously supported by Anna (Logan) '65 and Tom Lawson, as well as research stipends from the Janet Spear and Paula Pimlott Brownlee professorships.
DR. MORGAN WILSON
Professor of Biology and Environmental Science
Working in marine environments with students and colleagues has provided me an excellent opportunity to explore complex ecological and environmental questions. I bring my training in ecophysiology to many of these questions and have been constantly amazed by the dynamic nature of organisms in marine environments.
It has been particularly gratifying working with students as they expand their understanding of oceans and the organisms that play a critical role in maintaining the function of reef ecosystems. Every moment under the water offers new landscapes and perspectives.
I am a Hollins University alumna who graduated in 2018 with a B.S. in Biology and a B.A. in Environmental Studies. I have participated in the Caribbean Ecology J-Term course since January 2014 as a student as well as a teaching assistant. In addition to the January trips, I have returned annually to St. John for summer research, starting with my thesis research in 2017 on Elkhorn Coral. Because of the Caribbean Ecology J-Term course, I have found my passion in marine science and will be pursuing a graduate school education in Marine Biology.