By Julia Renner, Marine Biology ’18

On Saturday, October 14, 2017, visitors flocked to Northeastern’s Marine Science Center on Nahant.  Evan a midday rainstorm wasn’t enough to dampen spirits as adults and kids explored tidepools, examined sea creatures, and learned about the exciting opporunities associated with the Marine Science Center and Nahant, from the Three Seas Program to the Beach Sisters and Coastal Ocean Science Academy. Volunteers, graduate students, faculty, and staff collaborated to make the event a success. Below are highlights from the event.

Volunteers Andrew Madanjian and Becky Lynskey pose in their spiffy Open House shirts. Becky, an environmental science major, is working the Open House for the first time. The idea of the open house, she says, is to “open up to the community and share information about what we’re studying.” Andrew Madanjian is volunteering at the Open House for the second time. “It’s a lot of fun,” he says, “to hopefully inspire some kids to pursue science.”


The Beach Sisters program educates visitors about watersheds and how water runoff eventually reaches the ocean.




Dr. Tara Duffy prepares to give a talk on mussels.




What’s this scuba diver’s favorite part of diving? “It’s so quiet and peaceful—all you hear is your breathing. You get to see very different things from what you see on land.”



Val Perini is happy to be at the open house “because it’s the day of the year when everyone comes to share their work with the public. I’m very passionate about science communication,” she says, “so seeing scientists share their work with the public is very exciting for me.”



Connor Benson and Kristin Schmicker man the sign-in table, where visitors to the Open House begin their day.



Heather Sears, MSC Business & Operations Manager; Jaida, a returning student from the Coastal Ocean Science Academy; and Matt, a marine biology student at Northeastern, supervise the merchandise table where visitors can purchase sweatshirts, water bottles, and other MSC swag!


Marissa, a student in this year’s Three Seas master’s program, shows off her lobster claws as she supervises the photo booth.





Liz Magee hosts the Three Seas Program and academic programs table. Liz has been with Three Seas for five years, currently serving as Dive Safety Officer, and is a veteran of the program. Behind her, divers prepare to dive on Canoe Beach and collect sea critters for visitors to inspect.


Graduate students Ethan, Molly, and Amanda from the Patterson lab show off their research. Molly is performing mussel dissections to show visitors how mussels are affected by microplastics in the ocean. Amanda explores the relationship between plankton and corals. Ethan has developed a device to sense microplastic particles in the ocean, where they can potentially be harmful to ocean life.

Sidonie supervises the Coastsweep Cleanup table. Coastsweep Cleanup facilitates beach cleanups all over the nation.



Beach Bling, courtesy of the Friends of Lynn and Nahant Beach.




Volunteers from Northeastern show off their Open House shirts after an early-morning drive from campus to the MSC.



Students who recently completed the Three Seas master’s program are all over the country and the world conducting research!



Waves break off of Canoe Beach near the MSC the morning of the Open House.




Visitors enjoyed an ongoing series of talks
and tours.



The familiar MSC sign greets visitors as they drive up to the open house.




Safety first! A pair of dive buddies swims back to shore on Canoe Beach after collecting critters for visitors to look at.



Visitors head back from the Canoe Beach tidepools with a bucket full of samples.




The parking lot is full as guests pour in for the Open House!



A tour group meets in front of the main MSC building before departing on a tour.




Geoff Trussell, Chair of the Marine and Environmental Sciences Department and Director of the Marine Science Center. Professor Trussell’s lab set up a marine ecology obstacle course for kids visiting the open house, letting them get hands-on experience in doing ecological science. “It’s the definition of experiential,” he explains. Participants get the opportunity to measure snails and count crabs—“we’re having them partake in the experience,” Trussell says, “not just observe.”


This article’s author <3’s marine science!