Mitchell College Receives Grants for Science Research From Southeastern New England Educational and Charitable Foundation

Mitchell College was recently awarded more than $44,000 in grants from the Southeastern New England Educational and Charitable (SNEC) Foundation. The award will fund three separate projects for Mitchell’s marine research program, including a laboratory upgrade, research on marine invasive species, and a beach restoration project. Dr. Christine Ramsay, life sciences professor, will lead the projects, which will incorporate additional science students into her lab as student research assistants this year.

“We are thrilled that the SNEC Foundation continues to be so supportive of our science program and student engagement in learning at Mitchell College. This award follows one given in 2018 and helps maintain a continuum of solid research being carried out by Dr. Christine Ramsay and her students. These efforts, which benefit both our students and the local environment, wouldn’t be possible without SNEC’s generous support,” said Dr. Tracy Espy, Mitchell College president.
The laboratory upgrade includes creating a new aquarium room in Bingham Hall with bigger tanks and upgraded tank systems to facilitate larger research projects, as well as in-class learning. Research on the impact of marine invasive species, specifically marine fouling organisms, is part of an ongoing project that Dr. Ramsay conducts with student researchers each year. While the overarching project remains the same, the questions studied each year change.
“We are continuously investigating new questions, but these individual student research projects are designed to be completed before students graduate so they have the opportunity to write up and present their research in a formal scientific setting. For example, two years ago, I took one of my research students to present his research at the Society for Integrative and Comparative Biology's annual meeting in Florida. This is a national conference that allows students to be recognized and gives them opportunities to network with professionals who may be able to help them in grad school and/or industry,” said Ramsay.
The Christmas tree beach restoration project began in 2014. When Dr. Ramsay took it over, she established plots and documented how discarded Christmas trees successfully increased dune heights by 15cm in just over three years, “… a significant increase when we are talking about sand dunes, if you think about the size of sand particles!” Ramsay said.

About Mitchell College
A small liberal arts college, Mitchell developed its distinct educational approach over more than 80 years, blending a tradition of mentoring with an expertise in teaching diverse learning styles to create the innovative Mitchell Ability Model. Through a journey of self-discovery, learning adaptability, four-year career development, and mastery of essential abilities, students are challenged, supported and equipped for lifelong success. Mitchell is committed to the broader community through building strong, creative and cooperative partnerships. Located on a beautiful waterfront campus in historic New London, Connecticut, it is also home to championship NCAA Division III athletics, Thames at Mitchell College, the Mystic Program, and the renowned Bentsen Learning Center.