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Shelley Dawicki
508 495-2378

August 19, 2009
166 Water Street
Woods Hole MA 02543

Ann Thompson (Charlo, Montana)

Ann holds starfish
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Ann Thompson explains starfish biology to a visitor at the Aquarium's touch tank. (Credit: Shelley Dawicki/NEFSC/NOAA)
Thompson and fellow intern Eli Garcia use a seine to capture specimens in the tidal marsh at Woodneck Beach in Falmouth during a public collecting trip. (Credit: WHSA Aquarium)
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Although Ann Thompson grew up on the Flathead Indian Reservation in Montana, is used to fishing in lakes and streams and lives far from an ocean, she is interested in fisheries science and found her first trip to Cape Cod this summer an enjoyable experience.

As one of nine high school students, Thompson spent part of the summer as an intern at the Woods Hole Science Aquarium, the nation's oldest public research display aquarium and part of NOAA’s Northeast Fisheries Science Center in Woods Hole, Mass.

Thompson participated in the Aquarium’s Careers in Marine Science Seminar July 27 to August 7. The seminar students get training in marine animal husbandry and basic aquarist chores, hear presentations from scientists working in a variety of marine fields, go on collecting trips, visit other Woods Hole science institutions, and go on field trips to the New Bedford waterfront, Whaling Museum and Buttonwood Park Zoo and Nantucket's Maria Mitchell Association Aquarium.

 The career program is designed to give students an idea of what people working in Woods Hole do, and how different areas of science contribute to the larger effort to understand the marine world and to manage marine resources wisely.

 “I have been exposed to a lot of wildlife in Montana, and am interested in learning more about other animals,“ she said.  “This summer I learned a lot about marine animals as well as the monkfish tagging program and stock assessments.”

Along with the other summer interns, Thompson performed the daily chores of running an aquarium, like cleaning tanks and feeding the fish. She and the other interns also helped care for the Aquarium’s two harbor seals, LuSeal and Bumper, collected animals in local waters on trips with the public, and explained local marine life in the touch tanks to visitors.

Thompson graduated in May from Charlo High School, where she was president of both the National Honor Society and the Cultural Awareness Club. She also volunteered at the Owl Research Institute, where she conducted field research and looked for barn owls.  In the fall she will attend Humboldt State University in California to pursue her interest in fisheries biology.

When not fishing or enjoying the outdoors, Thompson plays classical music on her acoustic guitar. During previous summers she traveled to Italy, France and Spain with the People to People Student Ambassador Program, and last summer was an intern at NOAA’s Monitor National Marine Sanctuary in North Carolina. She also finds time during the summer to work at Cathy’s Casual to Caviar Catering.

“I applied to the internship program so I could further my wildlife education and work in an outdoors, hands-on research-based environment,” she said of her summer experience. “Working at the Monitor National Marine Sanctuary, with the Owl Research Institute, and now as an intern at the Woods Hole Science Aquarium has confirmed that fisheries biology is the field for me.”

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