Allegheny Student Studies Away At Duke University Marine Lab

Samantha Dzierba ‘25
Samantha Dzierba ‘25

One experience changed the trajectory of Samantha Dzierba ‘25— leading her to dedicate herself and her career toward the stewardship of ocean life. 

During the fall of 2023, Dzierba was surrounded by sea life while studying away at the Duke University Marine Lab in Beaufort, North Carolina. The experience allowed her unique access to various creatures, including the Rizzo’s Dolphin, sharpnose sharks, oysters, and sponges

“The marine lab is just such a cool experience. With less than 20 undergrads on the entire campus, everyone is super close and willing to help each other out. Being able to physically be on the ocean makes labs and classes so much more hands-on and interesting,” says Dzierba, an environmental science and sustainability major with a biology minor. “I’ll even be inside for class and still be able to see whales and dolphins swim by the island through the windows.”


Dzierba credits Christine Scott Nelson ’73 Endowed Professor in Environmental Science & Sustainability, Eric Pallant, and Associate Professor of Biology, Lisa Whitenack, for helping her apply to the program.  

Whitenack says, “Students studying away at Duke University Marine Lab have a fantastic experience and are so excited to share everything they’ve seen and learned and how that connects to what they’ve learned at Allegheny. It’s such a joy to watch students like Sam become even more passionate about marine science and grow as scholars.”

Additionally, Dzierba mentions the connections she’s made with professionals and current Ph.D. students continue to be invaluable as she explores post-graduate options in marine biology.

“For me, the biggest takeaway from this experience was that I found my calling. I knew I wanted to work with the ocean going into this experience, but by seeing more hands-on and professional research, it makes me more excited to continue this career path,” says Dzierba. “This is definitely an experience I will never forget and am extremely grateful for.”

Learn more about hands-on learning opportunities outside the classroom with the Center for Career and Professional Development and the Office of Undergraduate Research, Scholarship, and Creative Activities.

Interested in attending the Duke University Marine Lab? Visit the following page.