Getting to Know APU’s Visiting Fulbright Scholar: Jay Calvert
by Miriam Mezzetti
Alaska Pacific University is proud of its remarkable faculty and students. With the quality, personalized educational experience here, we often attract some of the best and brightest students and faculty: not only nationally, but internationally! Jay Calvert, a Fulbright-Marine Institute PhD student awardee, is one of these.
Jay hails all the way from Ireland. He has come here in order to research for his PhD with Doctor Brad Harris, Assistant Professor of Marine Biology here at Alaska Pacific. It was the opportunity to work closely with Doctor Harris, Jay explains, that was one of the main reasons he chose to come to APU. Harris’s work with Irish scientist Doctor Chris McGonigle on mapping the seafloor in the Gulf of Maine is important and groundbreaking in their field, and relates well to Jay’s own research.
Although Jay is humble, and would rather praise the achievements of others than his own, one can tell by speaking with Jay that he is extremely bright and passionate about his research. He is studying the composition and organism community of the seabed in order to map it, and in order to make predictions about the organism community based upon prior observations. He has already thoroughly studied photographs and sonar data on over 60,000 data points in only a few months!
Despite this large amount of work and research, Jay has still managed to find some time to experience Alaska through his newfound passion for hiking and mountain biking. The natural beauty of Alaska, he muses, draws you to this state and calls you to feel like exploring instead of just sitting inside in front of a TV or computer. Although his adventures in the Alaskan wild have sometimes included some natural dangers, and although he has had more than a few run-ins with flocks of our unofficial state bird (the mosquito), Jay still plans to continue exploring Alaska in his spare time until he leaves to complete additional studies for his PhD in Boston.
When asked what impresses him about APU, Jay describes the community here, as well as the low student/faculty ratio. He feels a great sense of camaraderie with his colleagues in the scientific community here in Alaska. It is also impressive, he notes, to see undergrad students interacting so closely with Doctor Harris and other faculty. At many universities, he has observed that undergraduates often only get 1-3 hours a week with faculty per class, and most of that is in lectures and labs. At Alaska Pacific, he noticed that undergraduates actually get to work in the field on research with their professor and get many more hours with faculty.
We are happy to provide a quality educational experience to all students, from our early honors students to our PhDs. It is wonderful to know that Jay has enjoyed his experiences at APU and in the great land of Alaska, and we wish him great, continuing success in his future endeavors! APU is pleased to attract such wonderful students and faculty from around the world! We look forward to continuing to provide an excellent education to our high-achieving community of resident and visiting scholars.