Environmental Sciences Spotlight: Claire Pelletier

Each month, the Environmental Sciences Academic Program highlights a current student who represent the diverse and involved student population within the program. This month, December, the spotlight focuses on, Claire Pelletier.

Name: Claire Pelletier

Claire Pelletier at CMAST
Claire Pelletier at CMAST

Focal Area: Marine Science

Year: Junior

Hometown: Richlands, NC

1. What lead you to select Environmental Sciences at NC State?

I had a really great ES teacher in high school who emphasized human impacts on the environment and how we could make a difference as individuals and as a community.  His class inspired me to chose ES as my major and NC State’s program felt like the right choice.

2. What is your favorite aspect about the Environmental Science program?

My favorite aspect is how close everyone in the program is.  Because NCSU is so big, it makes a difference to have a group of people who know you on an individual basis and care about your wellbeing and success.

3. What has been your favorite course at NC State?

ES 498, Research in Environmental Science, allowed me to get out of my comfort zone and learn new things I otherwise wouldn’t have pursued. I worked with Dr. Craig Harms, who is the director of the Marine Health Program at CMAST.  Under his guidance I looked at correlations in blood gas data from black sea bass, compared over different types of capture as well as different depths of capture.  I learned to take blood samples from live fish as well as how to perform different tests on the blood collected.  The work was more anatomy and biology focused than I had ever experienced before but it was extremely rewarding and interesting.

4. How did you select your focal area?

I’ve always been fascinated with the ocean but I didn’t think I could turn that fascination into a focal area or even a career.  I took the opportunity to spend a semester studying at CMAST and after being completely involved in the field decided it was definitely the path I wanted to pursue Marine Science. At CMAST I took a mix of Marine Fisheries Ecology, Marine Resource and Management, Biology of Marine Mammals and Ecology of Coastal Resources courses.  The Marine Fisheries Ecology and Ecology of Coastal Resources courses especially stuck out to me because of the research aspects.  In addition I got the opportunity to expand my time at CMAST into the summer where I worked in the Buckel Lab looking site fidelity and dispersion of mummichog in intertidal creek systems.  The field work involved long days in the marsh tagging fish as well as statistical analysis that I wasn’t accustomed to but I absolutely fell in love with it.

5. What is something you wish someone had told you when you were a freshman?

I wish someone had emphasized the power of being present, showing up for class shows that you are interested in the material and respect the instructors time.  In addition, the importance of showing up for events outside of class, I’ve always been pleasantly surprised by the things I’ve learned at extracurricular events.

6. What is your favorite thing to do outside of the classroom?

I enjoy reading, painting and spending time on the water.