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Shelley Dawicki
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August 25,2008
166 Water Street
Woods Hole MA 02543

Adam Semple (Attleboro, Mass.)

Adam Semple with seal
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Adam Semple plays with LuSeal in the seal pool. (Credit: Woods Hole Science Aquarium, NOAA)

Semple poses with Lavender, an endangered Kemp's Ridley turtle. The marine turtle spent part of its rehabilitation at the Woods Hole Science Aquarium before being released in July 2008, equipped with a satellite tag on its back for tracking. (Credit: Woods Hole Science Aquarium/NOAA)
Related Links
Woods Hole Science Aquarium
Bradford E. Brown Student Internship Program

Adam Semple of Attleboro, Mass., says some people have pegged him as “the theater kid” because he has appeared in high school musicals and local theater productions, and assume he will major in theater in college.

But the senior at Bishop Feehan High School also loves animals and the ocean, and says he is seriously thinking about the marine sciences as a career after his summer as an intern at the Woods Hole Science Aquarium in Falmouth, Mass.

“I loved being in Woods Hole and being around a mix of people from all over the world,” he said. “There is so much to learn here, and the people know so much and are willing to teach you.  Reading about it in books is fine, but having a hands-on opportunity like this is amazing.”

Semple is no stranger to Woods Hole, having spent summers with family in the nearby town of Bourne, visiting the Aquarium and attending summer classes at the Children’s School of Science in Woods Hole when he was younger.  He liked the courses related to animals best, and when he heard about the Aquarium internship program decided to apply.

“I’ve learned so much about marine life, about setting up tanks and even about running an aquarium and everything that is involved,” he said. “I really liked working with the animals, especially the seals. It is hard work and not at all like having a dog. You cannot pet the animals. Everything is controlled and has a procedure to follow. Even after just a week here I knew twice as much as I did before about marine science.”

Semple works part-time as a waiter at Bliss Brothers restaurant in Attleboro, and said he will remain active in theater. This past year he was the male lead in the high school production of the musical “Crazy for You” and had to learn to dance as well as sing and act. It was an intense schedule and he loved performing, but was happy to be in Woods Hole for the summer feeding fish, cleaning tanks, teaching young children about the animals and going on collecting trips in local waters.

Although he has not been successful in convincing the lead aquarist to set up a tank for jellyfish and to acquire an octopus for the collection, Semple didn’t stopped trying. He caught several jellies in local waters, and learned why they are hard to raise and maintain in aquaria. As for the octopus, he discovered the Woods Hole Science Aquarium used to have one but it often slipped out of its tank to raid nearby tanks, a problem for those maintaining the populations.

Once classes start at Bishop Feehan in the fall, his course load will include classes in art, literature and psychology, as well as science. He took advanced placement biology last year, and will be taking advanced placement physics this year.

“I’m getting excited about science again,” Semple said of his experience. “I know I will be back, no matter what career path I choose. I’ve made a lot of connections and hopefully will keep the ties to Woods Hole for many years to come.”

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