Camille Pagniello talks about second year

A day in the life

Camille Pagniello talks about second year

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I can literally roll out of bed and see the ocean. And I can go scuba diving and chill out at the beach when I want—there’s no better place to do marine biology than here.

Looking ahead to graduate research

Back in her hometown of Richmond Hill, Ontario, Camille Pagniello says Internet research helped her decide that Dalhousie’s Marine Biology program was one of the best. “And a scuba shop clerk told me it was the best place in Canada,” she smiles. “I’m definitely happy with my choice—I love Halifax and I love Dal.”

In first year, Camille was in the Dalhousie Integrated Science Program (DISP), which she says helped her choose the path she’s now on. “We got to do field work, and there was a research project,” she says. “It was in math, but the experience made me realize I want to do research.”

Now, she’s working toward a Bachelor of Science, Co-op, with a Combined Honours in Marine Biology and Physics, with her sights set on graduate school and more research. “The ocean covers most of the planet, so it’s pretty important,” Camille says. “I can’t see the need for research ending—there’s so much we need to know about coastal communities, biodiversity, and global warming. And we should learn from the ocean, not only study it.”

In third year, Camille plans to do her first co-op work term—she’s hoping through NSERC. “It’s great to get actual work experience and have the chance to do research—it’s good experience for a master’s or PhD,” she says. “It’s pretty exciting to have the chance to get out in the field and apply what you’re learning about in class.”

She’s enjoying her Diversity of Life course most of all. “The prof, Dr. Romanuk, is amazing—I’m always motivated to go to class,” she says. “And the lab is great—you get to touch live specimens, and look at slides and preserved specimens. It all complements the lectures.”

She says she first wanted to be a marine biologist in grade two. “Yeah, I wanted to swim with dolphins,” she laughs. “Now I want to study dolphin echolocation—it’s still my dolphin dream.”

Though she mentions she might not end up staying at Dal to do graduate work, she says, “I would come back to Dal to teach, if I had the opportunity. This is my home now—when I say, ‘I’m going home' now, I mean back to residence, not back to Ontario. I haven’t been homesick at all because I’ve made such good friends here.”