A passion for research

Claire Lockwood

HOMETOWN: Saratoga Springs, N.Y.
MAJOR: Biological Sciences

Claire Lockwood ’20

"To me, Union means endless opportunities to grow,” said Claire Lockwood, who has pursued a wide range of activities in and out of the classroom.

As one of 10 students on Union’s San Francisco Internship on Innovation and Creativity, Claire interned at two celebrated institutions. The jobs she took on taught her as much about herself as anything else.

At A Living Library, she did ecology activities with inner-city middle school students. At the Exploratorium, a museum dedicated to science, technology and arts, she conducted research on fractal pattern formations in wetland landscapes.

“While I loved learning about fractals at one of the coolest organizations in the Bay area, what I especially loved was being outside in a garden with kids and plants,” Claire said. “At A Living Library, I grew in my self-worth, confidence and cultural awareness. I came to really know my passions and purpose.”

The San Francisco internship program was one of many immersive experiences that has helped Claire illuminate what matters most to her and shape her future.

Junior year, on a term abroad in Australia, she studied marine biology and terrestrial ecology of the rainforests and the Great Barrier Reef, as well as the urban ecology of Brisbane.

“Our classes took many forms – hiking through tropical rainforests, camping, snorkeling with sea turtles, sharks and stingrays on an island reef, and kayaking down a river and collecting floating waste,” she said.

Senior year, Claire was awarded a fellowship through Union’s Klemm Fund for International Study and Service, and “the magical coral reefs of the Fiji Islands became my classroom for three weeks.” Working alongside local villagers and volunteers from around the world to inform conservation policies, she surveyed and tagged sharks and restored mangrove habitats.

“I learned how conservation is an intersectional team effort – intertwined in community, culture, education and values,” she said.

On campus, in addition to classes and labs in her biology major, Claire took on traditional research in environmental science. Working with a geology professor, she conducted dendrochronology research on high-resolution stable oxygen isotope ratios in an African mopane tree. She subsequently presented her findings at the Steinmetz Symposium.

Beyond academics, Claire found time for a range of activities, scientific and otherwise, that rounded out her Union experience, including founding the Yoga and Meditation Club, being active in the environmental committee U-Sustain, and serving as a DJ for the College radio station, WRUC.

“Union has helped me develop my skills to think critically, voice my thoughts effectively, especially through writing, and view issues from an interdisciplinary lens,” she said.

“Union allows you the space and support to grow into the human you’ve been wanting to be. Union provides the resources, you provide the action.”

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