Getting here:

During my junior year of high school, we all had regular meetings with our guidance counselor to discuss our college options. In one of these meetings, she turned to me after some consideration and said, “You know Amber, there’s this one college that I don’t usually recommend to people, it’s a bit different than the typical university, but I think you would really enjoy it!” She explained the hands-on, expeditionary approach, and after some conversations with other teachers who had, to my surprise, heard of the small college by the ocean, they all agreed it would be a great place for me to study. After my acceptance letter arrived in the mail, I visited the school and felt the presence of small community and knew this would be a welcoming place to learn.


Ecology: Natural History

Geology of MDI

Problems in Painting

Biology 1&2

Philosophy of Nature

Communicating Science

Introduction to guitar

Edible Botany

Introduction to Statistics and Research Design

Environmental Chemistry

The Science of Comedy


Tutorial: Molecular Genetics Workshop and Research

Mt. Desert Island Biological Laboratory – extension of the genetics short-course

Trees and Shrubs of MDI

Tutorial: Advanced Analysis in Biology

Fail Better: Writing Short Fiction

Introduction to Contemporary Dance & Composition

Costa Rican Natural History and Conservation

Environmental History

Plants with Mettle: Live of Metallophytes

Conservation Biology

Wildlife Ecology

Introduction to Photography

History of Agriculture: Apples

Contemporary Psychology: Body, Mind and Soul

Favorite class:

Costa Rican Natural History and Conservation was definitely an extraordinary course! The students traveled to Costa Rica for 17 days where we traveled to four different research stations and were given the opportunity to create and carry out our own research questions in a new and extremely different environment. Being able to travel to the place we had been studying brought a whole new life and meaning to what we had been learning in the classroom through readings and discussion.

I also really enjoyed taking Edible Botany, where my final project resulted in a website for future classes to use to help understand the material! 
Check it out!


I have had two very hands on science based internships while attending COA. The first was a fellowship at MDIBL after my second year, where I studied the decline of eelgrass in and around the Upper Frenchman Bay by looking at three specific stress genes. The second internship was after my third year back in my home-state of Vermont working with the Vermont Center for Ecostudies through their brand new internship – The Alexander Dickey Conservation Internship. Here, I hiked and camped for the first half, taking mountain top bird surveys to study population trends. The second half required me to drive around the state of Vermont to various ponds and lakes where I would kayak through the water observing loon behavior and nesting sites.

Senior project:

Currently in progress! I am studying the Population Genetics of Beavers, Exploring the Insularity of the Mount Desert Island to Maine’s Mainland Populations.

Best meal on campus:

I really do love the spanakopita paired with israeli couscous!