From North Andover Classroom To Cape Ann Whale Watch
A current senior at Merrimack College, Sedona’s passion for marine life brought her to intern at Cape Ann Whale Watch for the summer. Sedona currently majors in Biology, with a double minor in Environmental Science and Chemistry. She chose Merrimack because of the small class sizes and individual attention professors are able to give to students due to the smaller class sizes.
Gillard is currently doing an internship with Cape Ann Whale Watch where she is able to go out and document Humpback Whale behavior. This includes taking data such as where the whales are located, identifying the whales by the markings on their flukes, collecting data on the behaviors they are displaying, and coming up with a capstone project to coincide with her experience at Cape Ann. Additionally, Cape Ann Whale Watch has provided their interns with a unique opportunity where they can partner with the company Ocean Alliance. Ocean Alliance has released new cutting-edge technology they refer to as the “Snot Bot”. The Snot Bot is a drone that hovers over whales when they come up to breathe and collect snot samples, which can give the Ocean Alliance team great insight into the DNA, bacteria, and other things that reside in the lungs of whales.
“You can’t wait for opportunities to come to you, you have to create them yourself and that takes hard work and dedication.”
When asked about her internship experience, Gillard states that “My internship is doing a fantastic job of preparing me for my future professional work as it is giving me great hands-on experience of what collecting data within the field is like. My mentor at Cape Ann Whale Watch, Tina McMahon is also an outstanding resource and has already taught me so much which, in turn, is helping to prepare me for a future career in the marine science world!”
In addition to her passion for marine life, Sedona is heavily involved on campus. You may see her on the Division I Track & Field Team or the Athletic Diversity Committee (ADC), or serving as a peer mentor in the Freshman Year Experience (FYE) program. Sedona also serves as a Resident Advisor (RA) for Residence life, and just joined the Green Team.