Two CELS seniors shivered at their graduation

Snow boots and head warmers were important accessories for Michelle Dennis and Iain McCoy when they graduated aboard a research vessel in Antactica.

Snow boots and head warmers were important accessories for Michelle Dennis and Iain McCoy when they graduated aboard a research vessel in Antactica.

While most of the URI Class of 2013 was comfortably getting their degrees inside the toasty Ryan Center May 19, two other CELS graduates were freezing on a snow-covered deck of a research ship in Antarctica.

Iain McCoy and Michelle Dennis donned makeshift mortarboards perched on top of knitted head-warmers and posed for graduation photos wearing white lab coats and snow boots aboard R/V Rainer just off the Antarctic Peninsula holding their “Bachelor of Antarctic Science degrees with minors in Krill Biology.”

Liquid nitrogen was used to make ice cream for a party to honor two CELS graduates, Iain McCoy and Michelle Dennis.

Liquid nitrogen was used to make ice cream for a party to honor two CELS graduates, Iain McCoy and Michelle Dennis.

McCoy and Dennis are part of a research team led by Dr. Ted Durbin of the URI Graduate School of Oceanography studying krill biology and behavior in the Antarctic.

Their special degrees were signed by the captain of the research ship, reports Dr. Bethany Jenkins, (of the Department of Cell and Molecular Biology) adding that a graduation party was held in the ship’s galley where they used liquid nitrogen to make ice cream—it turns out that McCoy had experience in that department, being a former employee of Brickley’s Ice Cream stores in Wakefield and Narragansett.

 

“We are very proud of Michelle and Iain, the hard work they are doing,” wrote Jenkins who noted that the two graduates were additionally honored that night by humpback whales which cruised close to the Rainer.