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Gifts Help Students Immerse Themselves in Learning

The Oregon coast: It’s an entirely different world just an hour west of the main Oregon State University campus in Corvallis. And soon, many more students will have the opportunity to immerse themselves in a wide variety of ocean-related issues, thanks to the support of OSU’s donor community.

At present, small groups of students come to OSU’s Hatfield Marine Science Center on Yaquina Bay for classes like Marine Biology 450. They get extensive experience as they work outside – learning both about the natural world and about how to conduct scientific research.

“I was learning every minute I was out and I’ve really retained the information,” said senior Catherine Lo of Portland of her experience in spring 2015. “It’s crazy how much you can absorb when you’re immersed in it.”

OSU’s student population in Newport could increase as much as tenfold with the construction of a new facility – a project at the heart of the $65 million Marine Studies Initiative. These 500 students will have the chance to study much more than marine natural science.

Oregon State is launching a new, highly experiential undergraduate degree program in marine studies focused on the human dimensions of marine systems. Based in the College of Liberal Arts, the curriculum will emphasize the social, political, and cultural issues of our coasts and oceans.

Students across fields as diverse as science, engineering, arts, and business will engage with the complex issues facing coastal communities and the diverse ecosystems they depend on – helping to find solutions with global applications.

The Marine Studies Initiative is just one way that donors are helping Oregon State offer transformative hands-on learning experiences to students. Gifts to colleges, schools, and departments help create new programs and ways of teaching that allow students to develop critical thinking skills and apply the concepts they’ve learned to real world problems.

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