Make The Connection

July 22, 2019 | By Cole Hatcher

Abbi Turner ’20 visited the Galapagos Islands this spring as part of Ohio Wesleyan’s Island Biology Travel-Learning Course, Here, she encounters a sea lion and frigatebirds. (Photos courtesy of Abbi Turner)

Traveling Learner

Abbi Turner Adds Galapagos to OWU Connections in Tanzania, U.S. Virgin Islands, Zimbabwe

Abbi Turner encounters a Red-footed Booby peeking through the foliage in the Galapagos Islands.

Abbi Turner ’20
: Indianapolis, Indiana
Major: General Zoology
Minor: Black World Studies
OWU Connection experience: Island Biology Travel-Learning Course 

Turner and classmates traveled to the Galapagos Islands for 14 days this spring to discover firsthand the biodiversity, volcanic terrain, and geological history of the islands, a province of Ecuador. The OWU Connection trip was led by associate zoology professor Shala Hankison, an OWU alumna who went on this same trip when she was a student, and by zoology professor Ramon Carreno. 

Why I Chose This Class

“I chose this OWU connection experience because it was such a unique opportunity. Very few people get to travel to the Galapagos Islands, let alone spend a whole semester studying the flora and fauna of such an iconic group of islands. There are species in the Galapagos that I got to see and experience firsthand that do not exist anywhere else on earth, and that alone was enough for me to want to be a part of this opportunity. Plus, I am a zoology major so it is right up my alley.”

My Favorite Moment

“Every time we were sailing or had down time, I was up on the sun deck searching for whales and dolphins. It’s on my bucket list to see a wild whale so when I finally spotted one while leaving Isabela, I went a little nuts. I was jumping around while screaming at the top of my lungs that there were whales around us.

“The boat captain turned the boat around to give us the opportunity to see more of them. The whole class got a laugh out of my excited, crazed behavior. So, this was a major highlight for me and is truly a moment I don’t think any of us will ever forget.”

Abbi Turner meets a giant tortoise during her 14-day OWU Connection experience in the Galapagos Islands. While there, her class studied the area’s unique biodiversity, volcanic terrain, and geological history.

Lessons Learned

“You always learn a lot when you travel to another country. During this trip especially, I learned to live in the moment and absorb every single second when you get the chance to travel to a new place. I also just learned even more information about the Galapagos Islands and Ecuador as our guides were super knowledgeable and could answer any question that we had about anything. I am very fortunate to have been a part of such an iconic Travel-Learning Course at OWU.”

Why I Chose Ohio Wesleyan

“I knew that I wanted a small liberal arts school. Also, the travel opportunities are unique here, and I knew I wanted to take advantage of what The OWU connection had to offer.”

During her four years here, Turner also has earned an OWU Theory-to-Practice Grant to support volunteering at a wildlife organization in Zimbabwe, completed a marine biology-mathematics Travel-Learning Course that visited the U.S. Virgin Islands, and spent a semester studying in Africa as part of the OWU in Tanzania program.

My Plans After Graduation

“I’m not sure yet though I am heavily considering applying to graduate school.”