Make The Connection

August 6, 2018 | By Cole Hatcher

Armando Polizzi ’19 meditates on a trail during his OWU Connection trip to Alaska. Two groups of Ohio Wesleyan students traveled together with their professors to explore ‘Mathematical Models of Climate’ and ‘Plant Responses to Global Change.’ (Photo by Leia Ashikawa ’21)

Exploring 'The Last Frontier'

Ohio Wesleyan Students Complete OWU Connection Experiences in Alaska

Name: Armando Polizzi ’19

Hometown: Hinckley, OH

Majors: Botany and Environmental Studies

Experience: Travel-Learning Course, “Mathematical Models of Climate”

OWU students enrolled in two Travel-Learning Courses – “Mathematical Models of Climate” and “Plant Responses to Global Change” – traveled together to Alaska for 10 days in May led by faculty members Craig Jackson, associate professor of Mathematics and Computer Science, and Laurie Anderson, professor of Biological Sciences.

Why did you choose this OWU Connection experience?

“I really wanted to do this course because it was partnered with BOMI 355 ‘Plant Responses to Global Change,’ a class which I have already taken but when I took it there was no travel component. I wanted to build on my math skills and get a new perspective on material I had already learned.”

Armando Polizzi ’19 examines a piece of permafrost during his Alaska experience. (Photo courtesy of Armando Polizzi)

What key lessons did you learn through your travels?

“During my travel, we learned a lot about forest succession and which types of plants take root in new sand, which plants succeed those and solidify the ground, and which plants take over when resources run low.

“It was incredible to see people actually researching these issues and to know that there are opportunities all over the country, especially with NEON (the National Ecological Observatory Network), where we met an OWU alumnus, James Ormerod ’17 (a NEON field technician in Fairbanks).”

What is one of your favorite moments from the trip?

“My favorite moment from the trip was walking through the Boreal forest and playing the game camouflage. Most of the class was playing, including the professors. It was a really great experience!”

Why did you choose Ohio Wesleyan?

“I chose OWU because I really wanted to travel and get a great education while in the atmosphere of a small college.”

What are your plans after graduation?

“After graduation I may apply to NEON (the National Ecological Observatory Network) or look into grad school for environmental education.”