Getting here:

Before COA I was at a waldorf high school, and from there I went on to take a gap year. The gap year turned into a college study abroad program called Leapnow. After an almost exclusively experiential program such as Leapnow I found that COA was the best “next step” for me to take, and I have not been disappointed. COA has been remarkably experiential, and has facilitated programs off campus as well as on that have been fundamental in my education.


Nina holding Black Guillemot ChickI have taken primarily natural sciences classes (i.e. Ecology, Natural History, Biology), but with several classes exploring art, history, and spirituality mixed in. This, plus several field based opportunities provided by COA such as work at the Alice Eno Field Research Station on Great Duck Island, and work for my senior project on Southeast Farallon Island.


Introduction to Photography

Ecology: Natural History

Human Ecology Core Course

Biology I

The History of Natural History

Lichen Biology

Writing Seminar I

Gardens and Greenhouses: Theory/Practice of organic Gardening

Biology II

Plant Life: A brief History

Introduction to Guitar

Literature, Science, and Spirituality

Biology Through the Lens


Costa Rican Natural History and Conservation

International Wildlife Policy and Protected Areas

Climate and Weather

Wildlife Ecology

Conservation Biology

Human Anatomy and Physiology I

Our Public Lands: Past, Present, and Future

Native American Law

Introductory Entomology

Marine Mammal Biology I

Science of Marine Conservation: Causes, Solutions, and Roles


History of the American Conservation Movement

Environmental Law and Policy


Favorite class:

Though not an official class, the time I spent doing research out on Great Duck Island at the Alice Eno Field Research Station has been one of my favorite COA learning experiences to date.



My approach to human ecology:

Ecology + Conservation + Law + Human Rights + Photography = Nina’s Version of Human Ecology


My internship took place on the Farallon Isands, 27 miles off the coast of San Francisco. The area is a closed wildlife refuge, home to hundreds of thousands of nesting seabirds, seals, sea lions, whales, dolphins, abundant marine life, an endemic cave cricket, and a somewhat lost arboreal salamander. My work involved several ongoing research projects, a small amount of outreach, and preparing for my senior project work.


Senior project:

My work thus far has been the Art and Science of Seabird Conservation. It has revolved around doing meaningful scientific work towards a conservation goal, as well as communicating said conservation through photography. The science is of course important, but the imagery is something that everyone can connect with. 


Life on Mount Desert Island:

Activities, traditions, celebrations:

Dorr Museum Collection, COA Natural History Club, Residential Advisor

Passions & motivations:

Photography, Conservation, Connection, Natural History

Best meal on campus:

Hands down, savory tofu and mac and cheese night in TAB.

COA might be the right college for you if...

You’re independent and motivated, with a real interest in learning through doing and contributing to change.


That moment in spring when you step outside and the smell of an alive ocean hits you full in the face, and what a glorious moment it is.

Or, conversely, wandering through a quiet winter campus, the smell of woodsmoke drifting through your nose with the sounds of ravens echoing off the snowy buildings.

View from Sand Beach