From age 12, the ocean fascinated Derrion May. While walking along the shore of the Indian River Lagoon in Sebastian, Florida, on vacation, the waves captured his interest and evoked a feeling of adoration for marine life that would later lead him to pursue a career in marine biology.
This summer, May, a junior marine biology major at Waynesburg University, spent 10 weeks at the Mote Marine Laboratory in Sarasota, Florida. While there, May served as a Research Experience for Undergraduate (REU) intern through the National Science Foundation (NSF), working alongside marine microbiologist Dr. Kim Ritchie. The opportunity to participate in cutting-edge research related to coral reef restoration and marine microbiology enabled him to attend workshops, present research findings and network with colleagues and other researchers with the ultimate goal of making marine systems more sustainable.
May credits his Waynesburg education, specifically the variety of courses and life skills he has gained, as having prepared him for receiving such a distinguished opportunity.
“Without passionate professors from multiple disciplines and Waynesburg’s goal [of] implementing faith, learning and service in every aspect of the campus, this opportunity would not [have been] possible,” said May.
May also credits a shared love and passion for ecology and the level of mentorship provided by his advisor, Dr. Wayne Rossiter, assistant professor of biology, for his undergraduate success.
“I have always looked up to him from the moment we met the fall of 2012, and I knew that he was serious about seeing his students succeed,” said May. “During my time at Waynesburg, he has always been able to [lead] me in the right direction, whether it is with classes or looking into potential fields of research.”
May believes that his time at Waynesburg University has given him many opportunities to excel in various areas such as leadership and faith as well as in his major.
“Waynesburg has taught me something each year on how I can strengthen my faith, ways which my boundaries can be expanded as a leader and how I can actively make a difference in my vocation. Whenever I graduate from Waynesburg, I can confidently say that I was given the unique opportunity to excel in the field of my choice.”