Andrew RobertsonThis class, this educational expedition, was hands down, one of the greatest experiences of my life. Everyone on the trip had some level of interest in the topic, from the organisms or simply enjoying being in the water for such extended amounts of time. And being surrounded with people that share common interests with you, and have an eagerness to learn what you want to learn, pushes you and encourages you to ask more questions, and to dive in deeper with everything you partake in. In addition, Dr. Vagelli was an extremely passionate, energetic, and educated teacher pushing every one of the students to answer questions, to engage themselves in the work, and to actively participate in both the field, as well as, the work in the lab. This class is incredible not only because you are traveling to a place that is unfamiliar to you, while meeting new and exciting people. But also, immersing yourself in a subject with hands on experience, something that no text book or slide show could ever possibly give you in an orthodox classroom setting. This class is what true learning looks like, it is exciting, and engaging in a way that is unmatched and unrivaled in every way. This class truly shows students what it means to be an ecologist working in the field, the amount of work that goes into putting together the information that resides in the textbooks back home, and this experience helps students understand whether or not this is something they would be willing, or even capable of doing before they spend their time and money pursuing it. For instance, my goal in life has always been to become a marine biologist and study sharks, I now know with the uttermost confidence that this is what I want to do. Being out in the field with Dr. Vagelli we saw innumerable amounts of organisms and wildlife, some of which were sharks. And each time I saw a new shark in the wild my heart was in my throat, not out of fear, but out of pure excitement and thrill in the fact that I was witnessing nature in its raw form. From the nurse sharks in the mangroves to the bonnet head and black tip reef sharks in more open water, there was nothing but respect and awe that I felt towards these magnificent animals, an experience I never would have the opportunity to receive in a regular classroom. This trip, as stated prior, is unmatched and unrivaled in every way conceivable for educational opportunity by any means of standardized teaching in classes. This trip puts students into real situations, where learning occurs with each kick of your fin, and each breath through your snorkel. In closing, this trip is an excursion like no other, where grabbing hold of lobsters, and wrangling sharks and octopuses is your everyday nine to five, is hands down one of the best ways to not only explore the Florida Keys and its inhabitants. But also, to explore your self and your interests in ways you cannot do in a classroom, while learning in a hands on environment where you decide what you are learning, how much you are going to learn, and what will be next.