Students Chosen To Attend Prestigious Lecture Series

Two Avalon students attended The Howard Hughes Medical Institute’s Holiday Lecture Series Thursday to learn about the ecology of coastal wetlands.

Seniors Michael McPherson and Thomas Sullivan attended four lectures, ate a free breakfast, and missed school.

McPherson and Sullivan earned their selections based on grades, a combined A-.  They listened to lectures on topics such as Trophic Cascades, Food Chains, and Untangling Salt Marsh Food Webs.

Avalon biology teacher Matthew Bronzi chose the students but the institute took care of the students arrangements.

McPherson said, “It was an honor to be invited and it was very interesting to learn about life cycles in a swamp.”

The Clarksburg native, who’s older brother John Paul earned a selection in 2013, took in as much as he could about the cycle of life in swamps.

“I have a better understanding of the swamp now,” he added.

Thursday’s lecture featured two leading ecologists, Mary Power from the University of California Berkeley and Brian Silliman from Duke. They described interactions between species and the environment in underwater ecosystems at the event.

The Scientists not only came to speak at the medical institute but to also have discussions with area high school students.

This program started over 20 years ago and in the past covered topics such as Evolution, Earth Science, Virology, and Biodiversity.

Joe Barnes, a senior, also earned an invite but was unable to attend.


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